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  • Curious reflex question...

    I asked this question a while back but I think I may have placed it in the wrong forum or asked it wrong. When I am engaged in the delightful task of emptying my bowels, I notice that when I insert the finger into the anal opening it cause my penis to reflex and contract. It does this everytime. I didn't know that the anus had such a close relationship to the penis.

    I was trying to find out from someone why this happens. It's not a pain issue or anything like that. It's just a peculiar relfex that I'd like to have an idea of what it means. What's the connection? Any takers? Thanks.

  • #2
    Sounds a little the BCR only backwards. Bulbocavernosus Reflex (I think its spelled right). The way I understand it. When the tip of the penis is pinched the anus contracts. This is checked by inserting a finger in the anus and pinching the tip of the penis. This reflex is usually absent forever in LMN injuries especially around T12/L1, which is one of the reasons why manual evacution is often needed after a magic bullet, instead of just dig stim. Some believe that the return of the BCR is a sign that spinal shock is over. Maybe what is happening to you is somehow related to that.

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    • #3
      Hi wheelieboy,

      I am not aware of a relationship between these 2 things. Perhaps you will get responses from others.

      AAD
      The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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      • #4
        Okay thanks. I wasn't sure if was a BCR or not, but that would seem the case. Nothing to get excited about, just more of the same I suppose.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by SCI-Nurse
          Hi wheelieboy,

          I am not aware of a relationship between these 2 things. Perhaps you will get responses from others.

          AAD
          Thanks Nurse. If it's a backwards BCR, guess I can consider myself unique mayhaps.

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          • #6
            I get the same thing.

            Also, when I'm cleaning the tip of my penis before cathing, it causes my toes to curl on my left foot..... But I haven't figured out how to make myself walk yet.



            -- JB

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            • #7
              The BC (bulbocavernosus) reflex is one of the most commonly seen reflexes in those with upper lumbar, thoracic and cervical SCIs. It is a reflex that occurs at S2-4 in the cord. To elicit it, you either pinch the head of the penis or press on the clitoris, or give a gentle tug on an indwelling catheter. You feel for the anal sphincter to contract at the same time. You can also elicit it by scratching lightly around the anal sphincter with a pin, watching for a "anal wink".

              Since the bladder and the external anal sphincter are both innervated by S2-4, as is the anal sphincter, stimulation of any of these structures can elicit a BC reflex if the S2-4 reflex arc is intact. One of the important muscles inverated by S2-4 is the pubococcygeal muscle, which is attached to the base of the penis, and creates the floor of the pelvis as well as the external sphincter and anal sphincter. So it makes sense that rectal stimulation would cause contraction of the pubococcygeal muscle, and penis "twitching" for a man who has an intact BC reflex. There is nothing "backwards" about it.

              Here is a diagram that shows some of this relationship, and shows how a traditonal BC reflex is tested. By the way, the BC reflex is often the first one to return below the level of SCI, and indicates that spinal shock is starting to subside. It also tells us if you have lower motor neuron (absent BC reflex) or upper motor neuron (BC reflex present) bladder/bowel/sexual function.

              (KLD)
              The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

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              • #8
                Based on this, it would be very unusual to see this reflex in a person with a burst L1, correct?

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                • #9
                  The BC (bulbocavernosus) reflex is one of the most commonly seen reflexes in those with upper lumbar, thoracic and cervical SCIs.
                  L1 is an upper lumbar, so this could be possible with an injury at L1.

                  AAD
                  The SCI-Nurses are advanced practice nurses specializing in SCI/D care. They are available to answer questions, provide education, and make suggestions which you should always discuss with your physician/primary health care provider before implementing. Medical diagnosis is not provided, nor do the SCI-Nurses provide nursing or medical care through their responses on the CareCure forums.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Sorry, I missed the upper lumbar part. My husband was still at shepherd when he got his bcr back and they were stunned. They must have checked him 10 times (lots of fun that was) because they did not believe he had it back. Finally they said that he did have it and it was very unusual. Which made me wonder after I read the above.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SCI-Nurse
                      By the way, the BC reflex is often the first one to return below the level of SCI, and indicates that spinal shock is starting to subside. It also tells us if you have lower motor neuron (absent BC reflex) or upper motor neuron (BC reflex present) bladder/bowel/sexual function.

                      (KLD)
                      Okay, I have a better understanding. I have an upper motor neuron injury with the possibility of regaining bowel/bladder/sexual function being an unknown. At my injury level (T6), I still have some abdominal movement, lower back muscles, slight leg muscle contractions in the quads, etc. It's been slow in coming but it is coming. Since the BCR refers to the body coming out of spinal shock, I assume all of the other gains are related and I'll just have to wait and see what happens in the future. Thanks.

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