Male Reproductive System - Medical Terminology(Adaptive*)

The primary sex organs of the male are called gonads, specifically the testes (singular, testis). Gonads produce gametes (sperm) and secrete sex hormones. The remaining accessory reproductive organs are the structures that are essential in caring for and transporting sperm. All of these organs and structures are designed to accomplish the male’s reproductive role of producing and delivering sperm to the female reproductive tract, where fertilization can occur.

These structures can be divided into three categories:

  • sperm transporting ducts, which include the epididymis, ductus deferens (also referred to as vas deferens), ejaculatory duct, and urethra
  • accessory glands, which include the seminal vesicles, prostate gland, and bulbourethral glands
  • copulatory organ, the penis, which contains erectile tissue. (See Figure Lateral view of the male reproductive system.)


The male hormone testosterone stimulates and promotes the growth of secondary sex characteristics in the male. This hormone is produced by the testes (plural).


sperm at/omeans spermatozoa, sperm cells. These are the male sex cell produced by the testes. Sperm at/o/genesis is the beginning or formation of sperm cells, or spermatozoa. The suffi x -genesis is used in words to mean forming, producing, or origin.

Spermat/uria is a condition in which there is sperm in the urine. A/spermat/ism is a condition in which there is lack of male sperm.

A man who produces a scanty amount of sperm in the semen has a condition called olig/o/sperm/ia.

Olig/o means scanty

A comma-shaped organ, the (3) epididymis, stores and propels sperm toward the urethra during ejaculation. The (4) vas deferens, also called ductus deferens, is a duct that transports sperm from the testes to the urethra. The sperm is excreted in the semen, or seminal fluid. Semen is a mixture of secretions from the (5) seminal vesicles, (6) prostate gland, and (7) bulbourethral glands, also known as Cowper glands. Label Figure Lateral view of the male reproductive system. as you continue to learn about the male reproductive organs.

Ducts of Cowper glands open into the urethra and secrete thick mucus that acts as a lubricant during sexual stimulation. The prostate gland secretes a thick fluid that, as part of the semen, helps the sperm to move spontaneously.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a gradual enlargement of the prostate gland, normally occurs as a man ages. It is a common disorder in men older than age 60. The enlarged prostate compresses the urethra and causes the bladder to retain urine. Symptoms include inability to empty the bladder completely and a weak urine stream. (See Figure Benign prostatic hyperplasia)

Common symptoms of BPH include hesitancy and dribbling on urination and a weak urine stream. Treatment for BPH includes drugs to decrease prostate size or the surgical procedure known as trans/urethr/al resection of the prostate (TURP)in which the obstructing tissue is removed. TURP makes it possible to perform surgery on certain organs that lie near the urethra without having an abdominal incision. (See Figure Benign prostatic hyperplasia)

The resect/o/scope (special type of endoscope) contains a light, valves for controlling irrigating fluid, and an electrical loop that cuts tissue and seals blood vessels. The wire loop is used to remove obstructing tissue piece-by-piece through the resectoscope. The chips of tissue are irrigated into the bladder and then flushed out at the end of the surgical procedure. The endo/scop/ic instrument used by the urologist to perform TURP is called a resect/o/scope


PSA refers to a blood test used to detect prostat/ic cancer and to monitor the patient’s response to therapy.

The (8) penis is the male sex organ that transports the sperm into the female vagina. A slightly enlarged region at the tip of the penis is the (9) glans penis. The tip of the penis is covered by a fold of skin called the (10) foreskin or prepuce. Label Figure Lateral view of the male reproductive system. as you learn the names of organs of reproduction.

Prostate CA is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in men (after lung and colon CA). Surgery may be performed to remove the prostate and adjacent affected tissues. Currently PSA is considered the most sensitive tumor marker for prostate cancer

Tumors may be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are not malignant (cancerous) and not life-threatening. A malignant tumor, however, is cancerous and life threatening

Tumors are also called neo/plasms(new growths or formations). Similar to tumors, neo/plasms can be malignant or benign

Carcin/omas also are known as malignant neo/plasms. A new growth in any body system or organ is called a neo/plasm

Prostat/itis, an acute or chronic inflammation of the prostate gland, is usually the result of infection. The patient usually complains of burning, urinary frequency, and urgency.

Hyper/plasia is an excessive increase in the number of cells in a tissue or organ. (See Figure Benign prostatic hyperplasia)

Vas/ectomy, a sterilization procedure, involves bi/later/al cutting and tying of the vas deferens to prevent the passage of sperm. (See Figure Benign prostatic hyperplasia) This sterilization procedure is most commonly performed at an outpatient surgery center using local an/esthesia.

Vas/ectomy is also performed routinely before removal of the prostate gland to prevent inflammation of the testes and epididymides. Potency is not affected.Inflammation of the prostate gland is called prostat/it is

Vas/o/vas/o/stomy, also called vas/ectomy reversal, is a surgical procedure in which the function of the vas deferens on each side of the testes is restored, having been cut and ligated in a preceding vasectomy.(See Figure Benign prostatic hyperplasia)


Vas/ectomy reversal may be performed if a man wants to regain his fertility. In most cases, patency (opening up) of the canals is achieved.

However, in many cases, fertility does not result, possibly due to circulating autoantibodies that disrupt normal sperm activity. The antibodies apparently develop after vas/ectomy because the developing sperm cannot be excreted through the ur/o/genit/al tract.

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