|Latin||glandulae vestibulares minores|
In female human anatomy, Skene's glands or the Skene glands (// SKEEN; also known as the lesser vestibular glands, periurethral glands, paraurethral glands, or homologous female prostate) are glands located on the anterior wall of the vagina, around the lower end of the urethra. They drain into the urethra and near the urethral opening and may be near or a part of the G-spot. These glands are surrounded with tissue (which includes the part of the clitoris) that reaches up inside the vagina and swells with blood during sexual arousal.
Structure and function
The location of the Skene's glands are the general area of the vulva, located on the anterior wall of the vagina around the lower end of the urethra. The Skene's glands are homologous with the prostate gland in males, containing numerous microanatomical structures in common with the prostate gland, such as secretory cells. Skene's glands are not, however, explicit prostate glands themselves. By histological origin, the Skene's glands are often referred to as the homologue of the prostate. The two Skene's ducts lead from the Skene's glands to the surface of the vulva, to the left and right of the urethral opening from which they are structurally capable of secreting fluid. 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, possibly contributing antimicrobial factors to protect the urinary tract from infections. Further, the Skene's glands secrete prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an ejaculate protein identically produced in males.
It has been postulated that the Skene's glands are the source of female ejaculation. Female ejaculate, which may emerge during sexual activity for some women, especially during female orgasm, has a composition somewhat similar to the fluid generated in males by the prostate gland, containing biochemical markers of sexual function like human urinary protein 1 and the enzyme PDE5, whereas women without the gland had lower concentrations of these proteins. When examined with electron microscopy, both glands show similar secretory structures, and both act similarly in terms of PSA and prostatic acid phosphatase studies. Because they are increasingly perceived as merely different versions of the same gland, some researchers are moving away from the term Skene's gland and are referring to it instead as the female prostate.
It has been demonstrated that a large amount of fluid can be secreted from these glands when stimulated from inside the vagina. Some reports indicate that embarrassment regarding female ejaculation, and the debated notion that the substance is urine, can lead to purposeful suppression of sexual climax, leading women to seek medical advice and even undergo surgery to "stop the urine".
Disorders of or related to the Skene's gland include:
- Skene's duct cyst
- Trichomoniasis: The Skene glands (along with other structures) act as a reservoir for Trichomonas vaginalis. This is why topical treatments are not as effective as oral medication.
While the glands were first described by the French surgeon Alphonse Guérin (1816–1895), they were named after the Scottish gynaecologist Alexander Skene, who wrote about it in Western medical literature in 1880. In 2002, Skene's gland was officially renamed to female prostate by the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology.
- Bartholin's gland
- List of homologues of the human reproductive system
- Pudendal nerve
- Vaginal lubrication
- Wolffian duct
- "paraurethral glands" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
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|Look up skene's gland in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
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- Radiology images of the Skene's gland
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