What are Skene’s Glands, Its Purpose or Function, Health Issues Associated With Skene’s Glands

What are Skene’s Glands?

Skene’s glands are two small ducts located in front of the vaginal wall, on both the sides of urethra.

Not widely known but these glands play a major role in both sexual and physical health.

Skene’s glands are also known as the female prostate but are not the same prostate glands in male anatomy. The nickname is due to their similarity with the male prostate gland that includes their ability to drain fluid into the urethra.

Other names of Skene’s glands are:

  • Skene’s ducts
  • Vestibular glands
  • Periurethral glands
  • Parauretheral glands.

What Is The Main Purpose Of Skene’s Glands?

Skene’s glands play an important role in urinary and sexual health.

The urethra is an important part of the urinary system and is responsible for moving urine out of the bladder. Skene’s glands play a role by releasing fluid into the urethra and lubricating it.

Skene’s glands may help prevent urinary tract infection, which is due to the antimicrobial substance present in its fluid.

Skene’s glands are also known to play a role in sexual health. On arousal, the Skene’s glands and clitoris get swollen due to an increase in the blood flow. On stimulation Skene’s gland release fluid that helps with lubrication during vaginal intercourse.

Research shows fluid excretion from these glands account for female ejaculation.(1)

Health Issues Associated With Skene’s Glands

Skene’s glands, if get infected can infect the urethra, and if there is an infection in the urethra, it can infect the Skene’s glands. Cysts can also develop in Skene’s gland but cancer is rare.

UTIs (urinary tract infections)

The urethra is 1.5 inches long in females and 8 inches in males.(2) This is why females are more prone to UTIs.

The symptoms associated with UTIs are:

  • Increased urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Smelly urine
  • Pain during urination

It is a bacterial infection and antibiotics are required to treat it.

Skenitis

Infection of the Skene’s gland is known as skenitis. It also leads to inflammation of the surrounding tissues. Any issues with the urethra can lead to infection of the skene’s gland as it is closely situated.

  • Skenitis can be caused by UTI, but gonorrhea is its most common cause.
  • The symptoms of skenitis are similar to those of UTI, with as additional pelvic pain and pain during intercourse.
  • The infection can be treated with antibiotics but may require surgery if it progresses.

Cancer

Though rare, skene’s gland cancer is possible.(3)

Malignant cysts can develop in these ducts due to untreated skenitis. These cysts may block the opening of the urethra leading to urinary retention.

How To Diagnose and Treat Skene’s Gland’s Medical Conditions?

UTI is diagnosed with a urine sample. For skenitis, imaging tests may be required. Imaging tests can also diagnose cancerous cysts of the Skene’s gland.

UTI or infection of the Skene’s glands and surrounding area is treated with antibiotics.

If detected early, cancer of the Skene’s gland is treated with radiation therapy. The longer cancer progresses the more chances of surgery increase. Surgical removal might also be required if cancer starts spreading to surrounding areas such as the urethra and bladder.

When To Consult A Doctor?

In case of the following symptoms, consult a doctor:

  • Urinary retention
  • Increased urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Blood in urine
  • Increased urination
  • Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abnormal pressure in the pubic bone

Though it is established that these glands play a role in urinary and sexual health, more research is required to know the exact benefit of Skene’s gland.

They are small in size but are prone to some health complications such as infections, and cysts that can be benign or malignant.

Consult a doctor is experiencing any pelvic pain or changes in urination, as treatment is required to prevent complications such as kidney damage and UTIs.