Anorectal manometry

What’s the test for?

An anorectal manometry test measures the pressures that the muscles in your back passage (anal canal) can generate, as well as sensation in the rectum and the neural reflexes that are needed for normal bowel movements.

You may be referred for this test if you have been experiencing troublesome bowel problems such as constipation or faecal incontinence. These problems can often be caused by injuries, weakness to the anal canal muscles or problems with the wall of your back passage.

About the procedure

This test evaluates the function of the muscles in your back passage and rectum. To do the anorectal manometry test, we insert a small flexible tube (only 3 mm thick) into the back passage with a small balloon attached. The tube will be connected to a machine that measures pressure throughout the test.

Once this is in the correct position, you will be asked to cough, squeeze and push several times to assess the strength of your back passage.

Following this, we will test how sensitive your back passage is by slowly inflating the balloon on the end of the tube and asking you to tell us when you feel it. You may feel a strong urge to defecate, but this sensation will pass immediately once the balloon is deflated. The test will take around 30 minutes to complete, and afterwards, you are able to go ahead with your day normally.

If you are paying for this test yourself and not through private medical insurance, the cost will be £1,060.

How to prepare

You do not need any special preparation for your appointment. You may eat and drink as normal and continue with any normal medication.

What can be learned

Anorectal manometry tests measure how strong the sphincter muscles are and whether they are relaxing and contracting as they should. The pressure sensors on the tube allow us to measure the strength of your muscles.  The balloon helps us to see how sensitive your rectum is. This is a very useful test for people with faecal incontinence, constipation or prior to surgery in the pelvic floor region.

Following your test, your data will be analysed and results written up into a report. The report will be sent to both you and your referring consultant/doctor, who will explain the results to you in a follow-up consultation where you will be best advised on the next steps in treatment.

Information leaflet
Information leaflet

Find more information about this test using our PDF download.

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Sam and Jordan were fantastic and made what could have been an ordeal much more tolerable. Five-star service all the way. Thank you!

Manchester Patient