The bulbourethral artery is a short, relatively wide blood vessel found only in males that supplies oxygenated blood to the reproductive system. One of three branches of the common penile artery, it also supplies the bulborethral gland (also known as Cowper's gland) by means of an offshoot. After branching from the common penile artery near to the base of the penis, the bulbourethral artery supplies blood to both the urethral bulb and the corpus spongiosum of the penis, before rejoining the cavernous artery and distal artery to form a ring of vessels near the glans of the penis. Along with the other parts of the penile artery, it is vital for the maintenance of normal erectile function. Any damage or obstruction to this artery may be addressed surgically quite soon after diagnosis because of its importance and the consequences of ongoing issues to fertility and sexual function. The bulbourethral artery is particularly important because of its function in supplying Cowper's gland, which produces mucus that is believed to neutralize any acidic residue from urine that would be inimical to sperm.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Bulbourethral artery
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