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Dis Colon Rectum. 1989 Sep;32(9):737-42.

Effects of aging on the anorectal sphincters and their innervation.

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Sir Alan Parks Physiology Unit, St. Mark's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.


The effects of aging on the pelvic floor musculature and its innervation are described in 102 women and 19 men without colorectal or pelvic floor disease. In the women, a reduction in anorectal "squeeze" pressure was found in the fifth decade, but the resting anal pressure remained unchanged. This reduction in squeeze anal pressure was accompanied by an increase in the mean pudendal nerve terminal motor latency, indicating damage to this nerve, and increased perineal descent in the resting and straining positions. The fiber density, recorded by single fiber electromyography in the external anal sphincter muscle, a muscle innervated by the pudendal nerves, was increased in the sixth decade, indicating the later development of compensatory reinnervation in this muscle. The interrelation of aging, menopausal effects, and parity in these changes is difficult to define from currently available data, but the authors suggest, from other evidence, that menopausal effects may be relevant.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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