Assessing Anorectal Function in Constipation and Fecal Incontinence

Alice C. Jiang, Ami Panara, Yun Yan, Satish S.C. Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Constipation and fecal incontinence are commonly encountered complaints in the gastrointestinal clinic. Assessment of anorectal function includes comprehensive history, rectal examination, and prospective stool diary or electronic App diary that accurately captures bowel symptoms, evaluation of severity, and quality of life of measure. Evaluation of a suspected patient with dyssynergic constipation includes anorectal manometry, balloon expulsion test, and defecography. Investigation of a suspected patient with fecal incontinence includes high-resolution anorectal manometry; anal ultrasound or MRI; and neurophysiology tests, such as translumbosacral anorectal magnetic stimulation or pudendal nerve latency. This article provides an approach to the assessment of anorectal function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-606
Number of pages18
JournalGastroenterology Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • Anorectal function
  • Constipation
  • Digital rectal examination
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Translumbosacral anorectal magnetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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