Male Reproductive System
The organs of the male reproductive system are designed for various specialized functions, such as:
- To produce, maintain and transport sperm and the protective fluid called semen
- To discharge sperm within the uterus (female reproductive tract)
- To produce and secrete androgens (male sex hormones)
The male reproductive anatomy includes several external and internal structures.
The external male reproductive organs
Most of the male reproductive structures are located outside the manís abdominal cavity. The external structures of the male reproductive system are the penis, the scrotum and the pair of testes.
The human penis is an external male sexual organ and serves as the urinal duct. It has three parts:
- the root which is attached to the wall of the abdomen
- the body or shaft
- the glans (head of the penis), which is the cone-shaped
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The penis contains numerous sensitive nerve endings. Semen, which contains sperm, is ejaculated through the end of the penis when a man reaches sexual climax. When the penis is erect, the flow of urine is restricted from the urethra, allowing only semen to be expelled at orgasm.
A scrotum is a sac of loose skin that hangs from the body at the front of the abdominal cavity, between the legs. It sits just below the penis. It contains the testicles, blood vessels, and many nerves. The scrotum serves a protective function and acts as a temperature controller to the testes for normal sperm development.
The testes are oval-shaped organs that lie in the scrotum. Most men have two testicles. The testicles are responsible for the formation of testosterone (the primary male sex hormone). Testes are coiled stacks of tubes referred to as seminiferous tubules. These tubules are responsible for the production of the sperm cells through a process known as spermatogenesis.
The epididymis is a long, coiled structure that lies on the backside of each testis. It helps in carrying and storage of the sperm cells that are produced in the testes.
The internal male reproductive organs
The internal organs of the male reproductive system are referred to as accessory organs. The internal reproductive structures are as follows:
The prostate is the muscular gland is that is located below the bladder in front of the rectum. The prostate gland contributes additional fluid to the ejaculate as it produces certain ingredients of semen. Prostate fluids provide nourishment to the sperm.
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The vas deferens is a long, muscular tube that travels from the epididymis into the pelvic cavity. The vas deferens transports mature sperm to the urethra in preparation for ejaculation to attain orgasm.
The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the urinary bladder to outside of the body. In men, it has the additional important function of expelling semen when the man reaches sexual climax.
The seminal vesicles are the sac-like pouches attached to the vas deferens. The seminal vesicles produce a fructose (sugar-rich fluid) that provides energy to the sperms and helps them to move. The fluid produced by seminal vesicles makes up most of the volume of a manís ejaculatory fluid.
The bulbourethral glands referred to as Cowperís glands, located on the sides of the urethra just below the prostate gland. These glands produce slippery fluid that lubricates the urethra and neutralizes any acidity if present due to residual drops of urine in the urethra.
How does the male reproductive system function?
The male reproductive system is hormone dependent. Hormones are chemicals that regulate the activity of cells or organs. The primary hormones involved in the functioning of the male reproductive system include, such as:
- follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- luteinizing hormone (LH)
The follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone are produced by the pituitary gland located at the foot of the brain. FSH is necessary for spermatogenesis (a process of sperm production), and LH regulates the production of testosterone, which is necessary to continue the process of sperm production. Testosterone is the most common male hormone which is important in the development of male characteristics, including muscle mass and strength, distribution of fats, bone mass and sexual desire.>>