What is the role of the somatic nervous system in the neuroanatomy of neurogenic bladder?

Updated: Dec 24, 2020
  • Author: Bradley C Gill, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edward David Kim, MD, FACS  more...
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The somatic nervous system regulates the actions of the muscles under voluntary control. Examples of these muscles are the external urinary sphincter and the pelvic diaphragm. The pudendal nerve originates from the nucleus of Onuf and regulates the voluntary actions of the external urinary sphincter and the pelvic diaphragm. Activation of the pudendal nerve causes contraction of the external sphincter, which occurs with activities such as Kegel exercises (which also target the large pelvic floor muscles). Some reflex activity may also occur through the pudendal nerve, such as the sphincter contractions that occur during sneezing, coughing, and laughing—the so-called continence reflex.

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