Anorectal manometry is a diagnostic test performed to evaluate patients with constipation, fecal incontinence or other disorders that involve the anorectal sphincter (the muscle in the anus).
Anorectal manometry is done in with difficult to treat constipation, fecal incontinence (unable to stop stool from leaking), and abnormalities of the anus (anal malformations).
How is ARM performed?
The test takes approximately 15-20 minutes. You will be asked to change into a hospital gown or de-robe from the waist down and then to lie on your left side. A 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 computer that measures the pressure of the anal muscles. You will be asked a serious of questions and objectives to squeeze, relax and push the catheter at various times while the anal sphincter muscle pressures are measured. During the test, the small balloon attached to the catheter may be inflated in the rectum to assess the normal reflex pathways. Finally, you will be asked to try to expel the catheter by trying to have a bowel movement.
Biofeedback training can help many patients with chronic constipation to overcome their problem. Generally, it requires 6 sessions, one session per month, for optimal results.