Anorectal manometry (ARM) is a test that assesses bowel function in people with chronic constipation or faecal incontinence. The procedure involves inserting a little balloon into the rectum to dilate it while observing the strength of the anal sphincter muscles, sensations of stool in the rectum, reflexes that govern the bowel, and movements of the rectal and anal muscles.

Specialized muscles in the anal and rectal regions control how bowel motions flow through the body. When stool reaches the rectum, the anal sphincter muscle normally tightens to prevent stool passage at an inconvenient time. Stool leakage (incontinence) may happen if this muscle is weak or slow to contract. Sphincter muscles can weaken for a number of reasons, including 1) tearing completely or partially, 2) spinal cord injury, and 3) consequences from previous surgery. Normally, the anal sphincter muscles relax when a person bears down or pushes to go to the bathroom. As a result, the pressures will decrease, allowing stool evacuation. Constipation may result from the sphincter muscles contracting during pushing. Anal manometry evaluates the sphincter muscles' strength and determines whether or not they relax appropriately during bowel passage. When treating patients with faecal incontinence or severe constipation, it gives the clinician useful information.

Complete anorectal manometry testing often includes the following:

  • anal sphincter electromyography (EMG),
  • anorectal rest and squeeze pressure profiling,
  • rectal volume measurement,
  • rectoanal inhibitory reflex measurement, and
  • balloon expulsion test.

Risks and Complications of Anorectal Manometry:

Anorectal manometry is a safe, low-risk procedure and complications are rare. Equipment failure is a remote possibility. People who are allergic to latex should inform the nurse or technician before the test.

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Reference: “What Is Anorectal Manometry and Why Is It Needed? | BHN.” What Is Anorectal Manometry and Why Is It Needed? | BHN,