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The sphincter muscle or sphincter (m.) (Latin / Germanized to Greek σφίγγω, sfingo 'press together') is a ring-shaped muscle in vertebrate anatomy that can completely seal off a hollow muscular organ . This prevents a forward or backward flow. Most sphincter muscles consist of smooth muscles and are therefore not or only partially accessible to voluntary activity. In invertebrates , a sphincter is a muscle that closes a housing or something similar. So the sphincter pulling mussels the two shell halves together.

Individual muscles


Malfunctions of the “lower esophageal sphincter” can appear as insufficient closure or insufficient opening. If the gastric entrance is not blocked, stomach acid flows back into the esophagus (reflux) and causes reflux esophagitis . If this functional sphincter does not open, achalasia occurs .

Functional disorders of the anal sphincters lead to fecal incontinence . The anal sphincters can also be injured by a perineal tear during childbirth .

The urinary incontinence is a generic term for various disorders of the reservoir function of the bladder and involuntary disposal of urine . In 1953 Hubert Hartl developed sphincterometry in Göttingen to assess the severity of such incontinence. Urinary incontinence should be prevented or improved through pelvic floor training .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: sphincter  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. ^ Frank Mannes: Changes in the motility of the esophagus after gastrectomy (dissertation at the Medical Faculty of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, 2003)
  2. Ulrike Bommas-Ebert, Philipp Teubner, Rainer Voß: Short textbook anatomy and embryology . 2nd Edition. Thieme, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-13-135532-8 , p. 291 f .
  3. Horst Kremling : Gynecological-urological borderline questions. In: Würzburger medical history reports 23, 2004, pp. 204–216; here: p. 207.