Know Your Fertility

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Male Hormones and How They Work

Mother Nature, ever interested in populating the world, gives a healthy dose of hormones to men, as well as women, hoping the two will get together.

The production of hormones in men begins in pituitary gland in the brain. This gland sends a hormone, called follicle stimulating hormone, (FSH) to the testicles, signaling them to produce sperm, the male reproductive cells. (Follicle stimulating hormone is the same hormone that tells the eggs to begin maturing in women, but somehow it works differently in men.)

As sperm are produced, testosterone, the male hormone, is also produced. Testosterone can cause a man to feel competitive, aggressive, and very interested in women. However, successful men everywhere have learned to harness their hormonal energy to fulfill their life goals, rather than allowing their hormones to direct their lives.

After sperm are produced in the testicles, they travel through a tube called the vas deferens to the seminal vesicle, which holds the mature sperm. The prostate gland makes seminal fluid, the fluid which transports the sperm in the urethra. The urethra is a tube extending from the bladder, through the prostate, and through the penis to the outside of the man’s body.

During sexual activity, vessels in the penis fill with blood, causing the penis to become firm and erect (the male erection.) The prostate gland fills with as much seminal fluid as it can comfortably hold, after which it contracts. The contractions draw sperm from the seminal vesicle. Seminal fluid mixed with sperm is called semen. The contractions of the prostate gland force the semen through the urethra and out the tip of the penis (ejaculation). The ejaculate (semen) is a teaspoon to a tablespoon of thick milky liquid and contains millions of microscopic sperm.

Even though the urethra transports both urine and semen out through the penis, when a man has an erection a valve closes between the prostate gland and the bladder to prevent urine from being released when semen is ejaculated. Practically speaking, this means that (thankfully) a man cannot urinate and ejaculate at the same time. – Marie Zenack,

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