Reasons an anal-rectal manometry is performed

Anal manometry or anal-rectal manometry is used to determine the cause of fecal incontinence or constipation. Fecal incontinence is described as the loss of voluntary control over the bowels resulting in leakage of stool or gas. Loss of control can be attributed to damage to the anal sphincter, pelvic floor muscles, nerves or soft tissues.

Most patients with fecal incontinence can be helped considerably without having to undergo surgery. This test will help to identify the specific underlying cause of the problem.

What you can expect

During this study, a soft balloon is placed in the rectum. In order to measure the sensitivity of the rectum and anus, the balloon is slowly inflated with fluid. This will also test the proper function of the rectal reflexes. To measure the pressure in the various parts of the rectum and anal canal, a catheter will be slowly pulled through the anus. You will be asked to squeeze, relax and possibly to try and expel the balloon. Most patients state that this test is not painful.