Anorectal Manometry

Adapted from the American Neurogastroenterology and Motility Society

What is anorectal manometry?

Anorectal manometry is a test performed to evaluate patients with constipation or fecal incontinence. This test measures the pressures of the anal sphincter muscles, the sensation in the rectum, and the neural reflexes that are needed for normal bowel movements.

How do I prepare for this procedure?

Give yourself one or two Fleet® enemas 2 hours prior to your study. You can purchase the Fleet enema from a pharmacy or supermarket.

You should not eat anything during the two hours prior to the procedure. If you are diabetic, this may involve adjusting your diabetic medications.You may take regular medications with small sips of water at least 2 hours prior to the study.

How is the procedure done?

The test takes approximately 30 minutes. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will then lie on your left side. TA small, flexible tube, about the size of a thermometer, with a balloon at the end is inserted into the rectum. The catheter is connected to a machine that measures the pressure. During the test, the small balloon attached to the catheter may be inflated in the rectum to assess the normal reflex pathways.

You will be asked to squeeze, relax, and push at various times. The anal sphincter muscle pressures are measured during each of these maneuvers. To squeeze, the patient tightens the sphincter muscles as if trying to prevent anything from coming out. To push or bear down, the patient strains down as if trying to have a bowel movement.

After the examination, you may drive yourself home and go about your normal activities.

What are the risks of anorectal manometry?

Anorectal manometry is a safe, low risk procedure and is unlikely to cause any pain. Complications are rare: it is possible that a perforation (tearing) or bleeding of the rectum could occur.

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