Patient instructions for rectal manometry

You are scheduled for a rectal manometry test. Rectal manometry is a test used to measure and assess pressure, reflexe and sensation in the rectum. The test also evaluates the efficiency of the anal sphincter. The procedure will help your doctor evaluate the cause and determine the correct treatment of fecal incontinence or constipation.  While lying on your left side, a thin flexible catheter with a small uninflated balloon at the tip is passed through the anus and into the rectum. The catheter is slowly withdrawn while numerous pressure measurements are recorded. You will also be asked to push and squeeze your anal muscles at certain times. You will also be asked to indicate when you experience a feeling of fullness or distension in the rectum, upon inflation of a small balloon at the end of the catheter.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your appointment for registration. If you are unable to keep your appointment, you must cancel at least 48 hours in advance or you will be referred back to your primary care physician.


  • Do NOT take smooth muscle relaxants (Valium, Flexeril or narcotic pain medications) 24 hours prior to your appointment time.
  • Obtain a Fleet enema from your local pharmacy and use ONE hour prior to your appointment time.

This is a very easily tolerated procedure. The procedure lasts approximately 20 to 30 minutes. You will be able to return to work afterwards.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Gastroenterology Unit at 916-734-5561, Monday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.