In recent years Slovakia has not offered many major achievements in the field of medical innovation. Many doctors say that a lack of money is the core of the problem. But Radio Slovakia International's Katarina Richterova did find one Slovak who has made an important discovery that could have important implications for women.
I'm at Bratislava's faculty of medicine, the department of pathology, in search for an outstanding Slovak medical achievement. I see nervous students standing around in the hallway. May I ask what you are waiting for?
"We are waiting to take the pathology exam."
Is it hard? How much did you have to learn for it?
"Yes, it is quite hard. We have been studying for five weeks."
What is the basic thing you need to know, for which they would throw you out if you didn't know it?
"Actually, we have to know everything."
"The favourite theme of Professor Zaviacic is the female prostate."
"We should know a lot about that, for example the histology of the female prostate, how it was discovered, because it is the research of Professor Zaviacic."
Is that one of the most important researches here at the faculty?
"Yes, actually I think it is."
"I think the female prostate is something new in the field of pathology, because many authors claimed that the female prostate doesn't exist. Mr. Zaviacic defined the term female prostate. In the future we will see how important it is for practice."
Prof. Milan Zaviacic has been researching female anatomy since 1980. Surprising though it may sound, he came to the conclusion that women, just like men, have their own prostate.
"The female prostate has the same functions as the male prostate, especially concerning the uroendocrine equipment and production of the secretion."
But the female prostate does vary slightly from its male counterpart. It is approximately a quarter of the size. Another difference is that the...
"The female prostate is located in the wall of the female urethra and the male prostate is around the urethra."
The tissues that lie on the border between the urethra and the neck of the bladder were only known as glands without a special function until Prof. Zaviacic proved this theory wrong:
"It is a very important functioning organ of the urogenital system. This prostatic tissue is a new erogenic zone for females. It participates in the female ejaculation phenomenon, in which the female prostate is stimulated indirectly."
The organ is mainly significant in terms of sexual pleasure for women; however it has a health relevance to it too. The female prostate can be susceptible to all the illnesses known in the male prostate, although they are less frequent. Until Prof. Zaviacic's discovery, many illnesses were mistakenly diagnosed and treated as diseases of the urethra.
"For the treatment of the female prostatic disease I recommend the same kind of drugs as for the prostate in the male."
As Prof. Zaviacic says, in practice the right treatment of the female prostate is still rather rare in Slovakia, especially in smaller towns, because of the lack of information. It seems that Prof. Zaviacic's work is more recognized by the international community than at home. He agrees that it is almost impossible to conduct research or attain outstanding achievements in Slovakia with the current lack of finances:
"The financial aspect is very important in using new methods in investigations, but according to my opinion hard work is much more important."
25 years of research have meant for Zaviacic weekends at work and sacrificing time with his family for the study of the female prostate.
In 2001 the Federative International Committee on Anatomical Terminology officially accepted the term female prostate and started to use it in specialist publications. There are many structures and functions in the human body still waiting to be found, says professor Milan Zaviavic, and maybe one of the many young medical students who successfully passed their exam today will be among the lucky and talented few who actually make such a discovery.
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