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Central European Journal of Urology


Introduction: Voluntary cough (VC) and the laryngeal expiration reflex (LER) provoke stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The aim of this article is to analyze the effectiveness of these stimuli on the timing of urinary leaks.

Material and methods: Urodynamic testing using pressure catheters was performed on 123 subjects with history of SUI. The LER was triggered using the induced reflex cough test (iRCT). Each subject was tested with VC and LER and leaked with one or both stimuli. The occurrence and timing of leaks were recorded.

Results: The peak and average intra-abdominal pressures were 16-19% greater for LER compared to VC. Of the 123 subjects, LER caused leak in 118 (96%), VC in 71 (58%) and both in 66 (54%). For LER compared to VC, leak was more likely to occur during or immediately after the first expiratory effort. The electromyogram for VC and LER were similar.

Conclusions: The iRCT reliably initiated the LER and triggered SUI more effectively than VC. During VC, the smooth muscle of the internal urethral sphincter (IUS) starts to contract during inspiration, and constriction of the IUS continues into the expiratory phase; this increased urethral tonicity would lessen the likelihood of SUI. We refer to this as the inspiration closure reflex (ICR). With LER the inspiration would not take place, and the first expiratory effort would be against a non-constricted IUS, making leak more likely. Our findings disprove the pressure transmission theory. The internal and external urethral sphincters may both increase urethral closure pressure and resistance.



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cough, stress urinary incontinence, urethra, urodynamics