Anorectal manometry is a test that measures how well the rectum and anal sphincters work together to eliminate stool (feces).
The anal sphincter has an internal and external sphincter, or valve, which helps to control continence (passing) of stool. These valves are made of muscles that control the opening and closing of the anus. The test is performed to see how well it is working.
The lower digestive system consists of the:
The end of the digestive tract is the rectum, which acts as a temporary storage area for feces or stool (the waste product of digestive system). The rectum holds the stool until defecation occurs. During defecation, stool is propelled out through the anus.
The anorectal manometry test is commonly given to people who have:
A small flexible tube (called a catheter) with a balloon on the end is inserted through the anal opening, past a ring of muscles called the anal sphincter before passing into the rectum. The small balloon at the tip of the catheter is gradually inflated. This causes the nerves and muscles in the rectum and anus to begin to squeeze. The end of the tube remains outside of the anus. It is connected to a machine that records the contractions and relaxations of the rectum and anal sphincter.
You may need to prepare your body for anorectal manometry. This prep work is necessary so that there is no stool in the rectum during the test. Before the test, your healthcare provider will ask you to:
In most cases, this test will not interfere with any medications you may be taking. Ask your doctor if it is okay to take your prescribed medications the morning of the exam.
During the test itself, you can expect that:
The exam will take between 10 and 20 minutes to complete.
After the test, you can expect that:
If you think you may be experiencing any unusual symptoms or side effects, call your doctor.
Treatment depends on how severe the problem is and what’s causing it. Generally, treatment options include:
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 12/04/2019