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Anorectal manometry (usually referred to as “ARM") is a test performed to measure the strength of the rectum and anal sphincter (the ring of muscles controlling the opening and closing of the anus). The test is commonly performed on people who have constipation (less than three bowel movements per week), fecal incontinence (not being able to control the bowel and results in leakage of feces), as well as a children’s disease known as Hirschsprung’s disease (a disease that can lead to blockage of the large intestine).
The doctor inserts a small, flexible tube (called a catheter) into the anus, through a ring of muscles called the anal sphincter before going into the rectum. Then, the doctor inflates a small balloon at the end of the catheter gradually, which will make the nerves and muscles in the rectum and anus to squeeze. The other end of the catheter stays outside your anus and connected to a machine that records the relaxation and contractions of your rectum and anal sphincter.
You can leave the hospital immediately after the procedure. If you receive the results immediately afterward, you may leave Munich the next day, but if your doctor needs to review the results before they give it to you, you may need to stay for 3 to 4 days.
Most people, both adults, and children can resume their normal activities immediately after the test. However, it is advisable to rest for the day and go back to work or school the next day, especially if sedation or anesthetic is used during the procedure.
There is no special aftercare for an anorectal manometry and you can resume your normal diet and activities (including exercises) right away. Except if the result shows that you have a serious condition, then the aftercare will depend on your specific case. You will need to discuss the results of the anorectal manometry either with your local doctor at home or your doctor in Munich.
Anorectal manometry is considered to be very safe and highly successful. There is always a risk of equipment failure, but it is very rare. The side effects and risks may include bleeding from the rectum due to irritation from the catheter or balloon and a reaction to the anesthetic.
Currently, there is no alternative to anorectal manometry as no other diagnostic tests can obtain the type of data that this procedure can provide. If you do not want to undergo this procedure, make sure you discuss with your doctor what your options are.
Anorectal manometry allows your doctor to study your anal sphincter’s function when squeezing and straining, and at rest so they can identify any abnormalities. Therefore, after this procedure, you will know the cause of the symptoms you have been experiencing.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 28/11/2020.