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Skene's gland is part of the human female reproductive system and is located near the entrance of the vagina. There are two of them, one located on each side of the urethral opening. While some controversy surrounds these glands, many researchers believe they are related to the G-spot, G-spot orgasms, and female ejaculation. They are named for Alexander Skene, the physician who first described them in the 19th century.
Anatomy and Relationship to the Prostate
These glands are also known as lesser vestibular or paraurethral glands. They are generally considered analogous to the prostate in men, due to similarities in their structure and function, and a microscopic examination of their cells and tissues supports this connection. Researchers have found, for example, that the gland produces proteins such as prostate-specific antigen, which was previously known only to originate in the male organ.
The main difference is that, while the prostate is almost always fully-formed in men, this is not the case in the female equivalent. Some women have fairly large and well-developed Skene's glands, but others have much smaller ones and still other women seem to lack them completely. It is believed that this wide variation might be why some women experience G-spot orgasms and ejaculation while others do not.
During sexual arousal, the Skene's gland becomes swollen with blood, stimulating nerve fibers associated with it. Ongoing stimulation of the area can produce an orgasm, but the nerve fibers are different from those in the clitoris. Many women report that orgasm associated with gland stimulation feels different from clitoral orgasm.
The glands are believed to be the sole source of the fluid expelled during female ejaculation. They produce varying amounts of liquid, but generally no more than around 0.5 cup (about 118 ml) at a time. It is thought that the gland produces a small amount of fluid throughout sexual arousal, and that sometimes, a larger quantity of fluid is released upon orgasm. Many women who experience this believe that they have accidentally expressed urine, and some deliberately suppress their orgasms to prevent embarrassment.
The fluid the Skene's gland produces does not resemble urine at all: it's typically clear and does not have the same odor. It contains a mixture of blood plasma, proteins, and enzymes similar to that of prostate fluid. For this reason, and because of the anatomical similarities, many researchers and medical professionals have begun referring to the gland as the female prostate.
Historically, some researchers have questioned whether the Skene's glands actually exist, and those who did accept their existence still debate what roles they play in female arousal, orgasm, and ejaculation. Another question yet to be answered is whether it plays any part in sexual dysfunction in women.
The controversy about the existence and function of the gland is similar to that which also surrounds the G-spot. Research studies have produced evidence both for and against the existence of this spot, which is said to be located inside the vagina, on the front wall. Women who report having G-spot orgasms tend to be more likely to also experience ejaculation. This suggests there might be a physical link between the G-spot and Skene's gland, but overall the body of research is considered by many medical professionals to be inconclusive.
Healthy Skene's glands generally cannot be felt or seen. Sometimes, the ducts can become blocked by infection, causing pain and tenderness. If the infection does not resolve on its own, an abscess can form within the duct or the gland itself. Not all abscesses require medical attention, but severe infection might require that the abscess be drained by a professional. The most common treatment for infection is a single dose or course of antibiotics, typically the same as those used to treat urinary tract infections.
Very rarely, the gland can become cancerous. The type of cancer that develops is referred to as Skene’s gland adenocarcinoma, and it is very similar to prostate cancer in men. This disease is so rare than only a small handful of cases have been documented in medical literature, but surgery is typically an effective treatment providing the disease is detected early on.