The Bulbourethral Glands

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Anatomy > Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body > XI. Splanchnology > 3c. 7. The Bulbourethral Glands

Henry Gray (1821–1865). Anatomy of the Human Body. 1918.

The Bulbourethral Glands

(Glandulae Bulbourethrales; Cowper’s Glands)

The bulbourethral glands are two small, rounded, and somewhat lobulated bodies, of a yellow color, about the size of peas, placed behind and lateral to the membranous portion of the urethra, between the two layers of the fascia of the urogenital diaphragm. They lie close above the bulb, and are enclosed by the transverse fibers of the Sphincter urethrae membranaceae. Their existence is said to be constant: they gradually diminish in size as age advances.


The excretory duct of each gland, nearly 2.5 cm. long, passes obliquely forward beneath the mucous membrane, and opens by a minute orifice on the floor of the cavernous portion of the urethra about 2.5 cm. in front of the urogenital diaphragm.

Structure

Each gland is made up of several lobules, held together by a fibrous investment. Each lobule consists of a number of acini, lined by columnar epithelial cells, opening into one duct, which joins with the ducts of other lobules outside the gland to form the single excretory duct.

Function

The bulbourethral gland contributes up to 4 ml of fluid during sexual arousal.[1] The secretion is a clear fluid rich in mucoproteins that help to lubricate the distal urethra and neutralize acidic urine which remains in the urethra.

According to one preliminary study, the bulbourethral gland fluid does not contain any sperm,[2] whereas another study showed some men did leak sperm in potentially significant quantities (in a range from low counts up to 50 million sperm per ml) into the pre-ejaculatory fluid,[1] potentially leading to conception from the introduction of pre-ejaculate. However, the sperm source is a residual or pre-ejaculatory leak from the testicles into the vas deferens,[1] rather than from the bulbourethral gland itself.[2]

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2
  2. 2.0 2.1


Gray's Anatomy

Anatomy atlases (external)

[1] - Anatomy Atlases

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