PELVIC FLOOR TESTS FOR FAECAL INCONTINENCE AND CONSTIPATION AT THE LONDON COLORECTAL CLINIC

 

Various pelvic floor tests are available to assess faecal incontinence and constipation. These tests include:

 

Ano-rectal manometry

 

This is a test to check whether the muscles of your anus and your rectum are working properly. You will need to lie on your left side, while a small catheter with water running through it is inserted into your anus. This measures the pressures in your anus when your muscles are at rest and when you squeeze them. A small balloon at the tip of the catheter will be used to check your rectal sensation, reflexes and rectal capacity. The whole procedure takes around 10-15 minutes.

 

3D Endo-anal ultrasound

 

State of the art 3 Dimension US equipment from BK medical Ultrasound uses inaudible sound waves to visualize the structure of your anal sphincter muscles. This test is performed if to see if there is any damage to the anal muscles of you have incontinence.

 

Defaecating Proctogram

 

This is an x-ray test to examine how your bowel is working. You will be given a drink containing barium, which allows your bowel to show up on x-ray. Barium is a thick, chalky substance that takes about 30 minutes to reach your small intestine. The radiologist will also insert some barium paste into your rectum. They will then ask you to sit on a special toilet chair in privacy and squeeze the barium out/empty your bowel while we take x-rays. This will take about 10 minutes.

 

Transit study

 

This is a special x-ray that looks at how quickly stool passes through your bowel. You will be sent a tablet that contains small shapes, which will travel through your bowel. You will need to return to have an x-ray taken five days after taking the tablet. You will receive separate instructions for this test from the radiology department.

 

None of these tests are painful and they are no more uncomfortable than being internally examined by your doctor. You will be told exactly what is going to be done and what to expect as the tests are being performed.