Your doctor has requested an anorectal manometry (AY-no-REK-tal ma-NOM-ehtree) test for you. This test, which is also called a rectal motility (moh-TIL-it-ee) test, measures the functions of your rectum and anal sphincter (AY-nal s’FINK-ter). The test results will help your doctor make a diagnosis in your case.
During this test, a small plastic tube (a manometry catheter) is passed into your rectum through your anal sphincter (anus). The anal sphincter is a ring of muscles at the opening to the outside of your body. The rectum is the last part of the large intestine (please see diagram at right).
The manometry catheter is connected to a machine that records the contractions (squeezing movements) and relaxations of your rectum and anal sphincter. The movements are recorded on a graph. A gastroenterologist (gas-troh-en-ter-OL-o-jist), a doctor trained in treating diseases of the stomach and intestinal tract, will read the graph and report the results to your doctor.
Preparing for the Exam
You may eat a regular diet the day of your exam. Eating the day of the exam will not interfere with your test results.
However, your bowels will need to be empty before the exam. You will be asked to take one or two Fleet® enemas three hours before your scheduled appointment. Your nurse will tell you whether more than one enema is needed. The enema will help to empty your bowels. You can buy a Fleet® enema at most drugstores or pharmacies.
During the Exam
You will be asked to lie on your side. Three different manometry catheters will be used one at a time during the exam. Each catheter will be inserted slowly through your anal sphincter and into your rectum. You may be slightly uncomfortable each time a catheter is inserted, but you should not feel any pain. After the catheter is in place, it will be attached to a machine that will record the contractions and relaxations of your rectum and anal sphincter. The catheter will be removed and the next catheter will be inserted and recordings will be taken until all three catheters have been used.
The test will take between one and one and a half hours to complete. You will be able to go home and resume your regular activities after the exam.
After the Examination
You should not have any discomfort after the test. Your doctor should have the test results within a few days and will discuss them with you.