Skene's gland

"Periurethral glands" redirects here. For for the male periurethral glands, see Urethral gland.
Skene's gland

Skene's glands held open
Precursor Urogenital sinus
Latin glandulae vestibulares minores
TA A09.2.01.017
FMA 71648

Anatomical terminology

In female human anatomy, Skene's glands or the Skene glands (/skn/; US dict: skēn; also known as the lesser vestibular glands, periurethral glands, paraurethral glands,[1] 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. [2] 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. [3] 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.[4] 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,[5][6] containing biochemical markers of sexual function like human urinary protein 1[7] and the enzyme PDE5, whereas women without the gland had lower concentrations.[8] When examined with electron microscopy, both glands show similar secretory structures,[9] and both act similarly in terms of prostate-specific antigen and prostatic acid phosphatase studies.[10][11][12][13] 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.[14]

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.[15][16]

It has been demonstrated that a large amount of fluid can be secreted from this gland when stimulated from inside the vagina.[17] 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".[18]

Clinical significance

Disorders of or related to the Skene's gland include:

A Skene's duct cyst, pressing the urethral opening towards the right side of the image.


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.[22][23][24]

See also


  1. "paraurethral glands" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  3. Zaviacic M, Jakubovská V, Belosovic M, Breza J (2000). "Ultrastructure of the normal adult human female prostate gland (Skene's gland)". Anat Embryol (Berl). 201 (1): 51–61. doi:10.1007/PL00022920. PMID 10603093.
  4. Rabinerson D, Horowitz E (February 2007). "[G-spot and female ejaculation: fiction or reality?]". Harefuah (in Hebrew). 146 (2): 145–7, 163. PMID 17352286.
  5. Kratochvíl S (1994). "Orgasmic expulsions in women". Cesk Psychiatr. 90 (2): 71–7. PMID 8004685.
  6. Wimpissinger F, Stifter K, Grin W, Stackl W (2007). "The Female Prostate Revisited: Perineal Ultrasound and Biochemical Studies of Female Ejaculate". The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 4 (5): 1388–93. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2007.00542.x. PMID 17634056.
  7. Zaviacic M, Danihel L, Ruzicková M, Blazeková J, Itoh Y, Okutani R, Kawai T (March 1997). "Immunohistochemical localization of human protein 1 in the female prostate (Skene's gland) and the male prostate". Histochem J. 29 (3): 219–27. doi:10.1023/A:1026401909678. PMID 9472384.
  8. Nicola Jones (3 July 2002). "Bigger is better when it comes to the G-Spot". New Scientist.
  9. Zaviacic M, Jakubovská V, Belosovic M, Breza J (January 2000). "Ultrastructure of the normal adult human female prostate gland (Skene's gland)". Anat Embryol (Berl). 201 (1): 51–61. doi:10.1007/PL00022920. PMID 10603093. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  10. Zaviacic M, Ruzicková M, Jakubovský J, Danihel L, Babál P, Blazeková J (November 1994). "The significance of prostate markers in the orthology of the female prostate". Bratisl Lek Listy. 95 (11): 491–7. PMID 7533639.
  11. Wernert N, Albrech M, Sesterhenn I, Goebbels R, Bonkhoff H, Seitz G, Inniger R, Remberger K (1992). "The 'female prostate': location, morphology, immunohistochemical characteristics and significance". Eur Urol. 22 (1): 64–9. PMID 1385145.
  12. Tepper SL, Jagirdar J, Heath D, Geller SA (May 1984). "Homology between the female paraurethral (Skene's) glands and the prostate. Immunohistochemical demonstration". Arch Pathol Lab Med. 108 (5): 423–5. PMID 6546868.
  13. Pollen JJ, Dreilinger A (March 1984). "Immunohistochemical identification of prostatic acid phosphatase and prostate specific antigen in female periurethral glands". Urology. 23 (3): 303–4. doi:10.1016/S0090-4295(84)90053-0. PMID 6199882.
  14. Zaviacic M, Ablin RJ (January 2000). "The female prostate and prostate-specific antigen. Immunohistochemical localization, implications of this prostate marker in women and reasons for using the term "prostate" in the human female". Histol Histopathol. 15 (1): 131–42. PMID 10668204.
  15. Jannini EA, Simonelli C, Lenzi A (2002). "Sexological approach to ejaculatory dysfunction". Int J Androl. 25 (6): 317–23. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2605.2002.00371.x. PMID 12406363.
  16. Jannini EA, Simonelli C, Lenzi A (2002). "Disorders of ejaculation". J Endocrinol Invest. 25 (11): 1006–19. doi:10.1007/bf03344077. PMID 12553564.
  17. Heath D (1984). "An investigation into the origins of a copious vaginal discharge during intercourse: "Enough to wet the bed" - that "is not urine"". J Sex Res. 20 (2): 194–215. doi:10.1080/00224498409551217.
  18. Chalker, Rebecca (2002). The Clitoral Truth: The secret world at your fingertips. New York: Seven Stories. ISBN 1-58322-473-4. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  19. Miranda EP, Almeida DC, Ribeiro GP, Parente JM, Scafuri AG (2008). "Surgical Treatment for Recurrent Refractory Skenitis" (PDF). TheScientificWorldJOURNAL. 8: 658–660. doi:10.1100/tsw.2008.92. PMID 18661053.
  20. Gittes RF, Nakamura RM (May 1996). "Female urethral syndrome. A female prostatitis?". Western Journal of Medicine. 164 (5): 435–438. PMC 1303542Freely accessible. PMID 8686301.
  21. S. Gene McNeeley, MD (December 2008). "Skene's duct cyst". Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Merck. Retrieved 5 March 2010.
  22. Skene's glands at Who Named It?
  23. Skene A (1880). "The anatomy and pathology of two important glands of the female urethra". Am J Obstet Dis Women Child. 13: 265–70.
  24. synd/2037 at Who Named It?
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