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Anorectal physiology tests

Pelvic floor tests

Assessment procedures using specialist equipment to diagnose a variety of bowel related conditions

About

Anorectal physiology tests look at the strength of the muscles in your anal canal to see if they are functioning as they should. They also check the sensitivity of your rectum to small volumes of air and its response to abdominal distension (an enlargement or 'ballooning' effect).

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    Your consultant will perform a rectal examination to check that your rectum is empty and you are able to push and squeeze when requested during the test. A catheter (small tube) is then placed into your rectum and a tool used to withdraw the catheter at a steady rate, measuring the strength of your muscles as the catheter is withdrawn. This will need to be repeated several times - sometimes with you relaxed and sometimes squeezing your anal muscles. A small balloon is then attached to the end of the catheter and placed into your rectum. Small bursts of air are pumped into the balloon. You will be asked to describe your sensations as this is done.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will tell you how best to prepare for these tests.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You'll be able to return home on the same day following your tests. You'll have a follow-up meeting with your consultant to discuss the results. Treatment options may involve surgery but more often it involves bowel habit retraining. This is also known as biofeedback. This non-invasive treatment involves retraining muscles to relax or the strengthening of muscle tone in your back passage and pelvic floor, depending on your symptoms. The programme usually lasts around six months.
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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