Understanding the Skene’s glands

The Vulva Skene's Glands FULL VERSION

The Skene’s glands are located on the upper wall of the vagina and around the lower end of the urethra. The Skene’s glands are made of the same cells as the male prostate.

The Skene’s glands are also called the lesser vestibular, periurethral or paraurethral glands, or increasingly the more correct name of the female prostate.

The Skene’s glands drain both into the urethra and near the urethral opening, and are surrounded by tissue that includes a part of the clitoris extending up into the vagina, which swells up with blood during sexual arousal, producing a different type of orgasm, frequently known as the ‘g-spot orgasm’.

The Vulva Skene's Glands FULL VERSION

The never-ending debate about female ejaculation, whether it even exists, etc. was discussed in Emanuele Jannini’s 2002 paper, whereby Jannini found that there are highly variable anatomical expressions of the Skene’s glands, with sometimes glands missing entirely in some women.

This means that if Skene’s glands cause female ejaculation and g-spot orgasms, and some women have no idea what we’re talking about, an anatomical difference may be the ‘why’.

The fluid produced by the Skene’s glands is very similar in composition to prostatic fluid, including specific proteins and enzymes (Human Protein 1 and PDE5).

The glands – the male prostate and Skene’s – appear to operate very similarly when examined closely. This is why researchers are now starting to call the Skene’s glands the female prostate.

The female prostate exists, but bizarrely, most diagrams of the female reproductive anatomy do not include the ducts to these glands (the outside exit point) at all and you could be forgiven for thinking these glands do not exist.

As mentioned, problematically in some women, it may not exist, complicating the issue.

Clinical implications of the Skene’s glands

Skene's Gland Diagram

The female prostate is important clinically for several reasons. The first is it can be the origin of infections and cancer. Additionally, HIV infection may occur here​1​.

Some rape cases may have mistakenly caused potentially innocent men to be found guilty based on the presence of PSA, at a time when it was believed that women did not have prostates and could therefore not produce PSA​2​.

Prostate-specific Antigen (PSA) ad Prostate-specific Acid Phosphatase (PSAP)

Women produce PSA from the prostate, of which elevated levels are one of the signs of cancer in the prostate in both men and women.

Female ejaculation

The bigger the Skene’s glands, the more of a ‘squirter’ a woman is. Female ejaculation has been a complex topic because as previously mentioned, not all women are able to do it, while others can’t help it.

History and discovery of the Skene’s glands

The female prostate was recognised by anatomist Regnier de Graaf way back in 1672. In 1880, Alexander Skene brought the attention back to these glands and ducts, which is why these glands are called Skene’s glands and/or ducts.

There is a move now to refer to these glands as the female prostate since that is the more accurate term for them.

Things that can go wrong with your Skene’s glands


  1. 1.
    Ablin RJ. HIV-Related Protein in the Prostate: A Possible Reservoir of Virus. American Journal of Clinical Pathology. Published online May 1, 1991:579-579. doi:10.1093/ajcp/95.5.759b
  2. 2.
    Longo VJ. The female prostate. Urology. Published online July 1982:108-109. doi:10.1016/0090-4295(82)90556-8

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)