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Jamaica Scientific Research Institute
Healing the world, one disorder at a time

Male Reproductive System

The male reproductive system comprises the testicles or testes, the accessory glands that include the seminal vesicles and prostate gland, sperm ducts including the epididymis and the vas deferens, urethra and penis.

Unlike the female, whose sex organs are located entirely within the pelvis, the male has reproductive organs, or genitals, that are both inside and outside the pelvis. Because it contains a sex organ, namely the penis, the system is prone to infectious diseases of the sexually transmitted types.


The male reproductive system is specialized to carry out the following functions:

- To produce, maintain and transport sperm (the   male reproductive cells) within a protective fluid (semen)

    - To discharge sperm into the female reproductive tract
    - To produce and secrete male sex hormones

The Penis is a cylindrical male organ for sexual intercourse. It has three parts: the root, which attaches to the wall of the abdomen; the body, or shaft that is the main part; and the glans or 'head', which is the cone-shaped part at the end of the penis. The glans is covered with a loose layer of skin called foreskin that is sometimes removed in a procedure called circumcision. The opening of the urethra, the tube that transports semen and urine, is at the tip of the penis. The penis also contains a number of sensitive nerve endings.

 

The size of the penis differs a lot for growing boys because they develop differently. An erect penis for an adult man may be about 5.7inches in length (average).


A penis becomes erect when blood fills the sponge-like tissues that make up the three circular shaped chambers of the shaft. The erection impedes the passage of urine and allows only semen to be ejaculated (ejected) on sexual arousal.


The size of a flaccid penis is no indication of how swollen it will become when erect. Neither is size of any particular body part correlated with penis size.

 

 

Adolescent and adult males normally possess two testicles that produce and store millions of tiny sperm cells. The testicles are oval-shaped and grow to be about 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length and 1 inch (3 centimeters) in diameter. One other function of the testicles is that they also produce sex hormones, including testosterone. This makes them a part of the body's endocrine system. 


Testosterone is the hormone that causes guys to develop deeper voices, bigger muscles, and body and facial hair. It also stimulates the production of sperm. Within the testes are coiled masses of tubes called seminiferous tubules. These tubules are responsible for producing the sperm cells through a process called spermatogenesis.

 

At the backside of each testicles are long, coiled tubes called the epididymisIt plays a role in transporting sperm cells from the testes, where they were produced, and storing them under conditions that promote maturity, since the sperm that emerge from the testes are immature and incapable of fertilization.

During sexual arousal, contractions force the sperm containing fluid into the vas deferens, a long, muscular tube that travels from the epididymis into the pelvic cavity, to just behind the bladder. The vas deferens then transports the mature sperm to the urethra in preparation for ejaculation.


The scrotum is the loose pouch-like sac of skin that hangs behind and below the penis, outside the pelvic area. It houses the testicles, epididymis and many nerves and blood vessels.

The scrotum helps to regulate the temperature of testicles, which need to be kept cooler than core body temperature to produce viable sperm. Special muscles in the wall of the scrotum allow it to contract and relax, moving the testicles closer to the body for warmth or farther away from the body to cool the temperature and, in the process, changing its size. When the body is cold, the scrotum shrinks and becomes tighter to hold in body heat. When it's warm, the scrotum becomes larger and more floppy to get rid of extra heat.

The accessory glands, including the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland, provide fluids that lubricate the duct system and nourish the sperm.


The seminal vesicles are sac-like structures attached to the vas deferens near to the side of the bladder. The seminal vesicles produce a sugar-rich fluid (fructose) that provides sperm with a source of energy and helps with the sperms’ motility (ability to move). The fluid of the seminal vesicles makes up most of the volume of a man’s ejaculatory fluid, or ejaculate.


The prostate gland, which is a walnut-sized structure that is located below the urinary bladder in front of the rectum, produces some other components of semen. It surrounds the ejaculatory ducts at the base of the urethra, just below the bladder. The muscles of the prostate gland also help propel this seminal fluid through the urethra and into the vagina during ejaculation


The urethra is the channel that carries the semen to the outside of the body through the penis. The urethra is also part of the urinary system because it is also the channel through which urine passes as it leaves the bladder and exits the body.

Common disorders of the Male Reproductive System include Low Spermatogenesis, Testicular and Prostate Cancers, Enlarged Prostate Gland, to name a few.

For further information on the Male Reproductive System, visit one of our reference sites below.


Male Reproductive System - Cleveland clinic

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