About Anorectal Manometry
The lowest part of the digestive system consists of the rectum (where feces is stored before it's passed) and the anus (the opening of the gastrointestinal tract where stool is expelled), which is sometimes referred to jointly as the "anorectal" area. Connected to the end of the rectum are the sphincter muscles, which contract to allow bowel movements to pass. When you experience abnormal bowel movements, our board-certified surgeons may perform an anorectal manometry. This is a test that is used to measure how well your rectum and sphincter muscles are functioning and to provide our team with a better understanding of your bowel movements.
For this diagnostic, a catheter (small tube) will be inserted into your anus and rectum. We will then gradually inflate a balloon, causing your muscles to squeeze as our advanced machine records the data. At Houston Colon and Rectal Surgery, anorectal manometry tests are performed at our North Houston and West Houston, TX offices to diagnose fecal incontinence, constipation, and a range of other conditions. Contact our facility and schedule a consultation with a member of our team if you or a family member have been experiencing abnormal bowel movements, such as being unable to go or incapable of controlling your stool.
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Before the Exam
An anorectal manometry does require some pre-examination prep work. Prior to your appointment, a member of our team will tell you exactly what to do and what you can expect before your test. This will include not eating or drinking anything after midnight the night before your diagnostic. Since your bowels will need to be empty before the examination, you will need to give yourself a Fleet® enema 2 – 3 hours before your appointment. These can often be purchased at a local drugstore. While an anorectal manometry will not typically interfere with prescription drugs, you will need to inform our surgeons of medications you are currently taking so they can advise you accordingly.
During the Exam
You will not require sedation for your anorectal manometry. Once you are ready for the test, we will ask you to get comfortable and lie on your side. Once you're relaxed, a small tube (catheter) will slowly be inserted through the anus and into your rectum. Some patients report experiencing minor discomfort as the catheter is inserted, but you should not feel any pain. Once the tube is in position, a balloon device on the end of the catheter will gradually expand, causing the sphincter muscles to contract. The outside end of the tube is connected to a machine, which will record the contractions and relaxations that occur in your sphincters and rectum. When the data has been collected, the small tube will be removed steadily. The process takes about 30 minutes to complete. After your diagnostic is over, our trained colorectal surgeon will analyze the results to assess your condition. With the information gained from your anorectal manometry, we will be able to better understand your bowel movements and craft a plan for treatment.
Since there are many potential causes for fecal incontinence and constipation aside from the function of the rectum and sphincters, you may need to receive additional testing. If the underlying root of your bowel movement concerns is not determined following your anorectal manometry, our surgeons may perform a colonoscopy, CT scans, or other diagnostics. If you require further testing so we can further assess your situation, our team at Houston Colon and Rectal Surgery will make this known to you and give you the information you need so that you may prepare accordingly.
ADVANCED ANORECTAL TESTING
At Houston Colon and Rectal Surgery, our team of skilled specialists takes a comprehensive approach to diagnose your anorectal concerns, such as fecal incontinence and constipation. When performing diagnostic tests, such as anorectal manometry, we ensure that you are comfortable throughout the entire process. If you've noticed any abnormalities with your bowel movements, we encourage you to contact one of our offices in North Houston or West Houston, TX where our staff will work with you to diagnose your condition and develop a personalized plan for treatment.