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Br J Urol. 1993 Jul;72(1):46-51.

Activity patterns of pubococcygeal muscles in nulliparous continent women.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Klinikum Grosshadern, Munich, Germany.


Simultaneous electromyographic (EMG) recordings from the left and right pubococcygeal muscles were obtained in 10 continent nulliparous women (aged 22-32 years) via wire electrodes inserted percutaneously. During relaxation, sustained motor unit firing was obtained in 14 and no EMG activity in 4 of the 20 recorded muscle sites. During voluntary squeeze, stopping urine in midstream and coughing there was always bilateral recruitment of motor units that was gradual in the recording sites with ongoing EMG activity and brisk in the sites without EMG activity; the 2 different patterns of activity were called "tonic" and "phasic" respectively. Voluntary squeeze led to activation of motor units sustained for 26 to 647 s (median 193.9) with the bladder empty and 25 to 600 s (median 198.4) with a full bladder. A marked decrease in ongoing tonic motor unit activity was seen during the attempt to urinate. Bladder filling caused an increase in tonic activity in 7 females bilaterally and in 1 unilaterally, whereas there was no change in 3 women. During the Valsalva manoeuvre, simultaneous motor unit recruitment was seen in all subjects bilaterally with the bladder empty and in all but one with the bladder full: in the latter case the motor unit recruitment with an empty bladder changed into simultaneous bilateral inhibition of firing of motor units with a full bladder (both in the supine and erect position); this pattern changed to bilateral recruitment of motor units again after bladder emptying. It is important to be familiar with the normal patterns of activity of the pubococcygeal muscles in continent nulliparous women since the denervation injury caused by childbirth might not only weaken these muscles but also influence their behaviour.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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