MICTURITION REFLEX

MICTURITION REFLEX

Micturition reflex is the reflex by which micturition occurs. This reflex is elicited by the stimulation of stretch receptors situated on the wall of urinary bladder and urethra. When about 300 to 400 mL of urine is collected in the bladder, intravesical pressure increases. This stretches the wall of bladder resulting in stimulation of stretch receptors and generation of sensory impulses.

Pathway for Micturition Reflex

Sensory (afferent) impulses from the receptors reach the sacral segments of spinal cord via the sensory fibers of pelvic (parasympathetic) nerve. Motor (efferent) impulses produced in spinal cord, travel through motor fibers of pelvic nerve towards bladder and internal sphincter. Motor impulses cause contraction of detrusor muscle and relaxation of internal sphincter so that, urine enters the urethra from the bladder.

Once urine enters urethra, the stretch receptors in the urethra are stimulated and send afferent impulses

to spinal cord via pelvic nerve fibers. Now the impulses generated from spinal centers inhibit pudendal nerve. So, the external sphincter relaxes and micturition occurs. Once a micturition reflex begins, it is self-regenerative, i.e. the initial contraction of bladder further activates the receptors to cause still further increase in sensory impulses from the bladder and urethra. These impulses, in turn cause further increase in reflex contraction of bladder. The cycle continues repeatedly until the force of contraction of bladder reaches the maximum and the urine is voided out completely. During micturition, the flow of urine is facilitated by the increase in the abdominal pressure due to the voluntary contraction of abdominal muscles.

Higher Centers for Micturition

Spinal centers for micturition are present in sacral and lumbar segments. But, these spinal centers are

regulated by higher centers. The higher centers, which control micturition are of two types, inhibitory centers and facilitatory centers.

Inhibitory centers for micturition

Centers in midbrain and cerebral cortex inhibit the micturition by suppressing spinal micturition centers.

Facilitatory centers for micturition

Centers in pons facilitate micturition via spinal centers. Some centers in cerebral cortex also facilitate

micturition.

FILLING OF URINARY BLADDER

PROCESS OF FILLING

Urine is continuously formed by nephrons and it flows into urinary bladder drop by drop through ureters. When urine collects in the pelvis of ureter, the contraction sets up in pelvis. This contraction is transmitted through rest of the ureter in the form of peristaltic wave up to trigone of the urinary bladder. Peristaltic wave usually travels at a velocity of 3 cm/second. It develops at a frequency of 1 to 5 per minute. The peristaltic wave moves the urine into the bladder. After leaving the kidney, the direction of the ureter is

initially downward and outward. Then, it turns horizontally before entering the bladder. At the entrance of ureters into urinary bladder, a valvular arrangement is present. When peristaltic wave pushes the urine towards bladder, this valve opens towards the bladder. The position of ureter and the valvular arrangement at the end of ureter prevent the back flow of urine from bladder into the ureter when the detrusor muscle contracts. Thus, urine is collected in bladder drop by drop.

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