The prostate is a gland located at the start of the urethra. It is approximately the size of a small kiwifruit or a large walnut. A normal prostate weighs between 20 and 30 grams, while a diseased prostate can weigh up to 100 grams. It is classed as being part of the exocrine system. This system secretes fluids for external functions of the body. The prostate secretes a milky substance that makes up around 20 to 30 percent of semen. It also has muscles that help to expel the semen during ejaculation. The prostate can be affected by a number of disorders, including prostatitis, benign prostate hyperplasia, and cancer. All of these disorders are characterized by inflammation of the prostate, so a doctor will schedule a prostate exam if one of these disorders is suspected. The doctor will place his or her finger into your rectum and examine the prostate for unusual swelling. This procedure is painless and only takes a minute or two. It is a common procedure, although it is embarrassing for many men.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Prostate