A Bulbourethral Gland is one of two pea-sized glands located just below the prostate in the male body. They form part of the male reproductive system. When a man is sexually aroused, each gland produces a clear, mucus-like liquid known as pre cum. The Bulbourethral Gland is an Exocrine gland, which means it secretes the fluid it produces by way of a duct into the environment it is intended for. As a man gets older these glands reduce in size.
Function of the Bulbourethral Gland
Upon leaving the gland, pre cum enters the urethra where it serves three primary functions:
- It lubricates the urethra wall to allow the sperm to pass through easily
- It neutralizes the acidity of the traces of urine left in the urethra. This creates a more hospitable environment for the sperm
- It binds with the semen and sperm to create a more favorable environment inside the vagina for the sperm to move around
Prostate Specific Antigen
The Bulbourethral Gland also produces a small amount of Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA). Most of the male body’s PSA is produced by the prostate gland itself. Its function is to turn semen into a more liquid form that allows the sperm to swim around freely.
Bulbourethral Gland Issues
In some men the gland leaks during periods of sexual arousal, and is emitted through the urethra at the tip of the penis. This is usually the result of a weak parasympathetic nerve, or PC muscle. Many sufferers also experience some form of erectile dysfunction, such as an inability to maintain erections, or premature ejaculation.
While it does not produce any sperm itself, the fluid produced by the Bulbourethral Gland can collect left over sperm from within the urethra and transfer it to a female, which means there is a risk of pregnancy.