Electromyographic study of ejaculatory mechanism

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Cavernosus muscle (CM), seminal vesicle (SV) and vasal ampullary (VA) contractions at ejaculation are said to be reflex mechanisms (ejaculatory reflex), which have been scarcely dealt with in the literature. We investigated the hypothesis that contraction of the CMs, SVs and VA at ejaculation is a reflex action. The electromyographic (EMG) activity of CM, SV and VA during ejaculation was recorded in 28 healthy men. The test was repeated after separate anaesthetization of the glans penis (GP), CMs, SVs, and VA in the pre-ejaculatory period. Latent ejaculatory time (LET) was calculated. CMs showed no EMG activity until rigid erection phase was reached. SVs and VA exhibited resting EMG activity which increased gradually with different stages of erection. At ejaculation, CMs, SVs and VA showed two to four intermittent contractions. The mean LET was 1.3 ± 0.2 sec. GP anaesthetization led to the disappearance of CM, SV and VA EMG activity at ejaculation, while bland gel did not affect EMG activity. CMs, SVs and VA when anaesthetized in the pre-ejaculatory period exhibited no EMG activity at ejaculation, while saline did not affect EMG activity. Increased EMG activity of CM, SV and VA apparently denotes increase in their contractile activity. CM, SV and VA contraction on GP stimulation and ejaculation are assumed to be reflex actions and are mediated through the ‘glans-cavernosovesicular reflex’ (GCVR) which presumably represents the ejaculatory reflex. Changes in LET or evoked response would indicate a defect in the reflex pathway. The GCVR might act as an investigative tool in diagnosing erectile dysfunction, provided further studies are performed in this respect.

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