Skene's glands held open
|Latin||glandulae vestibulares minores|
In female human anatomy, Skene's glands or the Skene glands (//; US dict: skēn; 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 gland is the general area of the vulva, glands 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. Skene's glands are not however explicit prostate glands themselves. During embryological development tissues are differentiated into either male or female parts. In male development, the tissue will differentiate into an organ that is anatomically unique to males that is called the prostate gland. In female development, the tissue differentiates into a different organ known as the Skene's gland. The prostate gland and Skene's gland share a common homologous origin, however anatomically and functionally they are distinct and separate tissues. Because of the Skene's gland and Prostate gland histological origins, the Skene's gland is often referred to as the homologue of the prostate. Another common example of homologous tissues that are distinctly different are the glans of the clitoris and glans of the penis. The clitoris is homologous to the penis, however, the clitoris is not a penis. The Skene's ducts are a pair of ducts leading from the Skene's glands to the surface of the vulva, to the left and right of the urethral opening.
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. When examined with electron microscopy, both glands show similar secretory structures, and both act similarly in terms of prostate-specific antigen 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.
In 2002, Emanuele Jannini of University of L'Aquila in Italy showed that there may be an explanation both for female ejaculation and for the frequent denials of its existence. Skene's glands have highly variable anatomy, and in some extreme cases they appear to be absent entirely. If Skene's glands are the cause of female ejaculation and G-spot orgasms, this may explain the absence of the phenomenon in many women.
It has been demonstrated that a large amount of fluid can be secreted from this gland 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:
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.
- Bartholin's gland
- List of homologues of the human reproductive system
- Pudendal nerve
- Wolffian duct
- Vaginal lubrication
- "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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