Reflex contractions of the ischiocavernosus muscles following electrical and pressure stimulations

J Urol. 1988 Feb;139(2):396-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)42442-6.


In a previous study, we have demonstrated that voluntary muscular contractions of the ischiocavernosus muscles (IC) correlate with changes in intracavernous pressure and, therefore, with penile rigidity. The purpose of our current research project was to verify whether reflex contractions of the IC muscles exist and under what conditions. Our results confirm that reflex contractions occur following electrical or pressure stimulations. Following electrical stimulation, the mean latency of the reflex contractions was 67.5 ms for the IC muscles and 34.9 ms for the bulbocavernosus muscles (BC). Following pressure stimulation, the pressure threshold necessary to elicit contractions of the IC muscles varied between 18.2 mm. Hg and 34.8 mm. Hg. We also observed that pressure variation (increase and decrease) rather than a relatively constant pressure is necessary to produce this reflex response. We interpret these results to suggest that pressure stimulations on the glans penis during coitus contribute to the erectile process and, specifically, to the increase in intracavernous pressure. These findings suggest the possibility of a physiotherapeutic management for patients with penile rigidity problems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electromyography
  • Erectile Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction*
  • Penile Erection
  • Penis / physiopathology*
  • Pressure
  • Reflex*