Physiological measures of vaginal vasocongestion

Int J Impot Res. 1998 May;10 Suppl 2:S107-10; discussion S124-5.


This paper reviews reliability, specificity, and practical applicability of the two most promising and widely used methods for measuring blood flow within the vagina: the oxygenation-temperature method and vaginal photoplethysmography. It was concluded that the oxygenation-temperature method and vaginal pulse amplitude as measured by the photoplethysmograph are both specific indicators of physiological sexual arousal. Although vaginal pulse amplitude seems to be the method of choice for measuring vaginal vasocongestion up to orgasm, and the oxygenation-temperature method for measuring orgasm, these measures should not be used in isolation. It is argued that women's sexual function should be evaluated using vaginal vasocongestion measures in conjunction with subjective indices. Finally, the field is in need of studies comparing physiological and subjective sexual responses in clinical and non-clinical groups.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology
  • Vagina / blood supply*
  • Vaginal Diseases / physiopathology*