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The anocavernosal erectile dysfunction syndrome II Anal fissure and erectile dysfunction


A previous study has demonstrated that the bulbocavernosus muscle (BCM) is a part of the external anal sphincter (EAS) [Shafik, Arch Androl, 1999]. It aids erection by compressing the penile bulb and the dorsal penile vein, and acts as a ‘suction–ejection’ pump in the ejaculatory process. Being a part of the EAS, the BCM is assumed to be involved in the different EAS pathologies. A recent study showed that erectile (ED) and ejaculatory dysfunction in 16 men with fecal incontinence (Fl) after an anal fistula operation was cured after sphincteroplasty [Shafik, in press]. This article investigates the erectile and ejaculatory status in patients with anal fissure.

The study comprised 32 men with acute anal fissure (mean age 36.7±8.2 s.d. years), 21 with chronic anal fissure (mean age 38.8±10.3 s.d. years), and 10 healthy volunteers (mean age 35.2±7.3 s.d. years). Erectile dysfunction occurred in all men with an acute fissure and in 16 of the chronic fissure patients; erection had been normal before fissure occurrence. The volunteers had normal erection. The anal pain radiated to the penis and was exaggerated on erection and penile thrusting. Erectile dysfunction investigations showed normal results. The electromyographic (EMG) activity of the external and internal (IAS) anal sphincters and the BCM as well as anal, penile bulb and cavernosal pressures were recorded. The acute fissures were treated conservatively and chronic ones by internal anal sphincterotomy. The patients were followed for mean periods of 17.3±3.6 s.d. months.

The bulbocavernosus reflex as well as EMG activity of EAS and BCM were normal, while the resting EMG activity of the IAS was increased. The anal pressure in the acute and chronic anal fissure was increased (P<0.01, P<0.05, respectively), while the bulbar and cavernosal pressures showed no significant changes. Fissure treatment effected cure of the fissure and the ED in 30/32 of the acute and in 19/21 of the chronic cases. Erectile dysfunction persisted in the four patients in whom the fissures did not heal.

In conclusion, a relationship is suggested to exist between anal fissure and ED. The ED occurred in the presence of anal fissure and was normalized with fissure cure. The BCM and anal pain seem to play a role in the etiology of ED associated with anal fissure.

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Shafik, A., El-Sibai, O. The anocavernosal erectile dysfunction syndrome II Anal fissure and erectile dysfunction. Int J Impot Res 12, 279–283 (2000).

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  • external anal sphincter
  • erectile dysfunction
  • incontinence
  • bulbocavernosus muscle
  • erectile dysfunction
  • external anal sphincter

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