Skene's gland

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Skene's gland
Human female external reproductive anatomy
PrecursorUrogenital sinus
Latinglandula vestibularis minor
Anatomical terminology

In female human anatomy, Skene's glands or the Skene glands (/skn/ SKEEN, also known as the lesser vestibular glands or paraurethral glands[1]) are glands located around the lower end of the urethral meatus. The glands are surrounded by tissue that swells with blood during sexual arousal, and secrete a fluid from openings near the urethra, particularly during orgasm.

Structure and function[edit]

The Skene's glands are located in the vestibule of the vulva, around the lower end of the urethra.[2] The two Skene's ducts lead from the Skene's glands to the vulvar vestibule, to the left and right of the urethral opening, from which they are structurally capable of secreting fluid.[2][3] Although there remains debate about the function of the Skene's glands, one purpose is to secrete a fluid that helps lubricate the urethral opening.[2][3]

Skene's glands produce a milk-like ultrafiltrate of blood plasma. The glands may be the source of female ejaculation,[3][4][5] but this has not been proven.[4] Because they and the male prostate act similarly by secreting prostate-specific antigen (PSA), which is an ejaculate protein produced in males, and of prostate-specific acid phosphatase, some authors refer to the Skene's glands as the "female prostate".[3][5][6] They are homologous to the male prostate (developed from the same embryological tissues),[7] but the homology is still a matter of research.[8] Female ejaculate may result from sexual activity for some women, especially during orgasm.[3][4] In addition to PSA and acid phosphatase, Skene's gland fluid contains high concentrations of glucose and fructose.[3]

In an amount of a few milliliters, fluid is secreted from these glands when stimulated from inside the vagina.[9][10] Female ejaculation and squirting (secretion of large amounts of fluid) are believed by researchers to be two different processes. They may occur in combination during orgasm. Squirting alone is a sudden expulsion of liquid that at least partly comes from the bladder and contains urine, whereas ejaculation fluid includes a whitish transparent ejaculate that appears to come from the Skene's gland.[3][11]

Clinical significance[edit]

A Skene's duct cyst, pressing the urethral opening towards the right side of the image

Disorders of the Skene's glands may include:


While the glands were first described in 1672 by Regnier de Graaf and by the French surgeon Alphonse Guérin (1816–1895),[15] they were named after the Scottish gynaecologist Alexander Skene, who wrote about it in Western medical literature in 1880.[16][17][18] In 2002,[19] the term female prostate as a second term after paraurethral gland was added in Terminologia Histologica by the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology. The 2008 edition notes that the term was introduced "because of the morphological and immunological significance of the structure".[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "paraurethral glands" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ a b c Rodriguez FD, Camacho A, Bordes SJ, Gardner B, Levin RJ, Tubbs RS (2020). "Female ejaculation: An update on anatomy, history, and controversies". Clinical Anatomy. 34 (1): 103–107. doi:10.1002/ca.23654. PMID 32681804. S2CID 220634920. Archived from the original on 22 November 2021. Retrieved 26 September 2020.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Pastor Z, Chmel R (2017). "Differential diagnostics of female 'sexual' fluids: a narrative review". International Urogynecology Journal. 29 (5): 621–629. doi:10.1007/s00192-017-3527-9. PMID 29285596. S2CID 5045626.
  4. ^ a b c Greenberg, Jerrold S.; Bruess, Clint E.; Oswalt, Sara B. (2014). Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. pp. 102–104. ISBN 978-1449648510. Archived from the original on 27 February 2023. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Bullough, Vern L.; Bullough, Bonnie (2014). Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 231. ISBN 978-1135825096. Archived from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 7 February 2018.
  6. ^ Diane Tomalty, Olivia Giovannetti et al.: Should We Call It a Prostate? A Review of the Female Periurethral Glandular Tissue Morphology, Histochemistry, Nomenclature, and Role in Iatrogenic Sexual Dysfunction. In: Sexual Medicine Reviews. Volume 10, Issue 2, April 2022, page 183–194.
  7. ^ Arulkumaran, Sabaratnam; Ledger, William; Doumouchtsis, Stergios; Denny, Lynette (December 2019). Oxford Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198766360.
  8. ^ Toivanen R, Shen MM (2017). "Prostate organogenesis: tissue induction, hormonal regulation and cell type specification". Development. 144 (8): 1382–1398. doi:10.1242/dev.148270. PMC 5399670. PMID 28400434.
  9. ^ Castleman, Michael (2 January 2014). "Female ejaculation: What's known and unknown". Psychology Today. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  10. ^ Heath, Desmond (1984). "An investigation into the origins of a copious vaginal discharge during intercourse: 'Enough to wet the bed' – that 'is not urine'". The Journal of Sex Research. 20 (2). Taylor & Francis: 194–215. doi:10.1080/00224498409551217. JSTOR 3812351.
  11. ^ Salama, Samuel; Boitrelle, Florence; Gauquelin, Amélie; Malagrida, Lydia; Thiounn, Nicolas; Desvaux, Pierre (1 March 2015). "Nature and origin of 'squirting' in female sexuality". The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 12 (3): 661–666. doi:10.1111/jsm.12799. ISSN 1743-6095. PMID 25545022.
  12. ^ Gittes, R F; Nakamura, R M (May 1996). "Female urethral syndrome. A female prostatitis?". Western Journal of Medicine. 164 (5): 435–438. PMC 1303542. PMID 8686301.
  13. ^ Itani M, Kielar A, Menias CO, Dighe MK, Surabhi V, Prasad SR; et al. (2016). "MRI of female urethra and periurethral pathologies". Int Urogynecol J. 27 (2): 195–204. doi:10.1007/s00192-015-2790-x. PMID 26209954. S2CID 26054797.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Kissinger, Patricia (5 August 2015). "Trichomonas vaginalis: a review of epidemiologic, clinical and treatment issues". BMC Infectious Diseases. 15: 307. doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1055-0. PMC 4525749. PMID 26242185.
  15. ^ de Graaf, Regnier (1672). De Mulierum Organis Generationi Inservientibus (in Latin). Leiden.
  16. ^ Skene, Alexander J. C. (April 1880). "The anatomy and pathology of two important glands of the female urethra". The American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children. 13: 265–70.
  17. ^ Skene's glands at Who Named It?
  18. ^ Skene's ducts at Who Named It?
  19. ^ Hornstein, Theresa; Schwerin, Jeri Lynn (2013). Biology of women. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar, Cengage Learning. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-285-40102-7. OCLC 911037670. Archived from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  20. ^ Terminologia Histologica: International Terms for Human Cytology and Histology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2008. p. 65. ISBN 978-0781766104. Archived from the original on 15 March 2023. Retrieved 27 September 2020.

Further reading[edit]