Ejaculatory Duct

Definition - What does Ejaculatory Duct mean?

The ejaculatory duct functions to mix sperm and seminal fluid to create semen. The semen is then transported through the prostate and urethra, and exits the body through the penis. The ejaculatory duct is a paired anatomical structure, meaning in normal anatomy, two ducts are present in the male reproductive system. The ejaculatory duct is a hollow tube approximately 2cm in length, and formed when the vas deferens and the duct from the seminal vesicle come together. Structural problems with the ejaculatory duct may cause difficulty with ejaculation and therefore, fertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Ejaculatory Duct

One ejaculatory duct or both can become obstructed in a condition known as ejaculatory duct obstruction (EDO). In this condition, the flow of semen is blocked from exiting the body (aspermia). This condition may be present at birth or occur later in life. When both ducts are obstructed, the ability of semen to exit the body is greatly affected and can cause either low sperm count (oligospermia) or the complete absence of sperm (azoospermia). The lack of sperm present in semen is a factor for male infertility and 1-5% of male infertility cases are caused by ejaculatory duct obstruction.

The gold standard for the diagnosis of ejaculatory duct obstruction is a transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) that shows enlarged seminal vesicles or distended ejaculatory ducts. The obstruction may be caused by cysts or the formation of small stones. Transurethral resection is a surgical procedure that can be used to open the ducts to allow sperm to adequately mix into the semen and promote healthy fertility.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia is an abnormal increase in prostate size. Because the ejaculatory ducts pass through the prostate, an enlarged condition may press against the tubing of the ducts and impede the flow of semen. This condition is also correctable by surgery, however, care must be taken to not damage the ejaculatory ducts during the procedure.

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