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Ask the Experts

A Female Prostate?

by Berkeley Wellness  

Q: Is it true that women have a prostate gland? If so, is it the same as the G-spot?

A: While the existence of the G-spot is controversial, there are two small anatomical structures called Skene’s (or paraurethral) glands that are sometimes referred to as the female prostate.

Named after Alexander Skene, M.D., a gynecologist who described them in a paper in 1880, the glands are situated at the lower end of the female urethra, near the location of the supposed G-spot. They produce a fluid that helps lubricate the urethral opening and may have antimicrobial properties that protect the urinary tract from infections.

The Skene’s glands are thought to have the same structural components as the male prostate, though they are much smaller. Interestingly, they even produce prostate specific antigen, or PSA. (PSA is secreted from other female body tissues, as well, and may be a possible diagnostic marker for breast disease, among other conditions, just as it is for prostate cancer in men.)

Still, there remains much debate over the exact anatomy and function of the Skene’s glands—in particular, what, if any, role they may play in sexual function. Some, but not all, researchers say that the fluid produced by some women during orgasm (“female ejaculate”) comes from these glands.

Though cancer of the Skene’s glands or their ducts is very rare, cysts, inflammation and infections sometimes occur in them and may be misdiagnosed as other urinary or gynecological conditions. If a woman has unexplained or unresolved symptoms (such as frequent and painful urination, lower urinary tract or vaginal pain or sexual dysfunction), it’s reasonable for her to talk to her health care provider to see if these glands may be a contributing factor.