Rectal Physiologic testing

Rectal physiologic testing: The release of stool from the digestive tract requires a series of coordinated contractions of the rectum and relaxation of the internal and external anal sphincters.  Damage to the nerves or muscles can lead to pelvic pain, constipation, and/or incontinence of the stools.  Physiologic testing involves:

1)Anorectal manometry – measures rectal and anal contractions as well as anorectal sensation and the sphincter reflexes

2)Pudendal nerve testing – measures the function of the main nerve controlling the anal sphincter

3)Anorectal ultrasound – investigates the integrity of internal and external anal sphincters and well as the rectum

4)Flexible sigmoidoscopy – investigates for rectal and sigmoid diseases

The results of these tests will help guide therapy which can include:

  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy: Strengthening and sensation conditioning
  • Endoscopic interventions – polyp removal, haemorrhoid treatment
  • Surgery: anal sphincter remain, rectal prolapse remain
  • Medications – ointments, laxatives, and suppositories