Anorectal Manometry Test 

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The digestive disorder specialists at Houston Methodist Lynda K. and David M. Underwood Center for Digestive Disorders use noninvasive tests to quickly and accurately diagnose bowel discomfort — and work with you to develop a personalized plan to help you find relief. 

The anorectal manometry test is a noninvasive procedure that gauges the function of the rectal and anal muscles. If the muscles relax too much, you lose the ability to control your bowel movements. If the muscles do not relax, constipation occurs. The dysfunction of these natural reflexes causes intense discomfort. Our world-class specialists at the Underwood Center can help. 


Houston Methodist Hospital is ranked No. 8 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for Gastroenterology & GI Surgery. U.S. News & World Report has also named Houston Methodist Hospital the No. 1 hospital in Texas every year since the award began and one of the nation’s best as a nationally ranked Honor Roll hospital.

Top-Ranked Diagnoses & Treatment

Our GI doctors and colorectal surgeons will help you understand what is happening inside your body. The manometry test is the best technique to determine the reason for your continence (your ability to control bowel and bladder movements) symptoms. With this information, we will design a treatment program customized to fit your specific needs. It is possible to retrain the muscles that allow bowel movements to occur. We may also recommend a change in diet to ease the tension.

About the Anorectal Manometry Test

Why do I need an anorectal manometry test?

An anorectal manometry test evaluates the reflexes and the neurological and muscular portions of the rectum responsible for continence. The examination clarifies the cause(s) of your rectal discomfort. If untreated, persistent issues may lead to GI complications that require surgery.

How do I prepare for the anorectal manometry test?

Do not eat or drink 6 hours before your test. One hour before the test, use 3 Fleet® Enemas (in a green and white box) 5 minutes apart to empty your digestive tract. Please allow enough time to use the enemas, go to the bathroom and arrive on time for your procedure.


You will be awake throughout the procedure. Application of muscle relaxants around the anus may affect pressure results, so follow your physician’s instructions about any medications you take.


What should I expect on the day of the test?

The test will last less than 1 hour. You may drive yourself home afterward. Here is how your doctor will administer the test:

  1. You will receive a digital rectal examination with a balloon-tipped rectal manometric (pressure measurer) catheter (thin tube).
  2. With pressure recording sites positioned around and in the rectum, we measure the resting anal pressure when you contract and relax the muscles used to perform a bowel movement.
  3. An assessment measures how well the anus relaxes after the rectum stretches by inflation of the balloon tip.

Some patients may experience rectal discomfort.