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How does anorectal manometry help diagnose fecal incontinence?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
A doctor may use anorectal manometry to measure the pressure inside your rectum and anal sphincters. After you have an enema, the clinician inserts into your rectum a small flexible tube (about the width of a rectal thermometer). The tube has a deflated balloon at the end. As you rest, squeeze, and bear down, the pressure inside your rectum and inside each sphincter is recorded on a polygraph-like display. This testing helps the clinician assess the strength of your sphincters and determine whether they are relaxing and constricting at the proper times.

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