Anorectal manometry is a test that helps to measure the pressure of muscle contractions in the anus and rectum. It also measures the strength and coordination of your anal and rectal muscles during defecation. Anorectal manometry allows your doctor to analyze the anus and rectum in terms of pressure, movement, reflexes, and sensation. During the test, your doctor will insert a thin probe equipped with sensors through your anus to measure the pressure and other factors that affect the anorectal muscle.
Why would I need an anorectal manometry?
The doctor might recommend an anorectal manometry to:
- Evaluate the cause of fecal incontinence or constipation, particularly difficulty with stool evacuation.
- Check for Hirschsprung’s disease (a childhood disorder that causes severe constipation)
- Check the function of the anorectal muscle before or after bowel surgery.
- Check coordination of muscles during defecation.
- Check sensation in the rectal area.
How do I prepare for an anorectal manometry?
- On the night before your anorectal manometry, you will need to perform a cleansing enema (mineral water or oil enema).
- On the day of the test, you can eat and drink regularly unless otherwise indicated by your doctor
- One hour and a half before your appointment, you need to perform another enema to empty/clean your rectum completely. If you do not take the enemas, your doctor will not be able to perform the test since your rectum may be full of stools.
- Check with your doctor if you need to stop or adjust the dose of any of your medications before the test such as antiplatelets, anticoagulants, or iron supplements. Some of these medications may affect the anorectal sphincter pressure or natural muscle contraction.
- Make sure to inform your doctor of any type of allergy you have especially if you are allergic to latex.
- Be at the clinic at least 30 minutes before the scheduled test time.
How is an anorectal manometry done?
- You will lie on the examination bed on your left side.
- The doctor will apply a lubricant to ease inserting the anorectal manometry probe through the anus.
- After that, the doctor will insert the probe in your rectum.
- The nurse may ask you to squeeze, relax, or push down as if you are defecating. Squeezing means you have to tighten the anal sphincter muscles as if you are trying to prevent anything from coming out of your rectum.
- The doctor may inflate the small balloon attached to the probe to assess the normal reflexes in your rectum. He/she also assesses how you perceive stool sensation in your rectum.
- When the test is done, the doctor will remove the probe.
- Anorectal manometry is a safe procedure with almost no risks associated
- The test takes around 30 minutes.
What happens after the anorectal manometry?
- You can resume your usual activities right after the anorectal manometry.
- You may have rectal discomfort. This is caused by the passage of the probe in your anus during the test. The discomfort will ease gradually.
- The doctor will discuss the findings of the anorectal manometry with you.
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