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Anorectal Manometry (ARM)


Updated December 19, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Anorectal manometry (ARM) is a diagnostic procedure that measures muscle tone of the sphincters and other muscles within the anus and rectum. The procedure is conducted to gain a better understanding of the causes behind symptoms of chronic constipation and fecal incontinence, and to support a definitive diagnosis of dyssynergic defecation.

The test involves the insertion of a small, flexible probe into your rectum while you are lying on a table. You may be asked at various times to relax or squeeze your rectal muscles, or to push down as if having a bowel movement. The test typically takes approximately 30 minutes to one hour.

Through the use of ARM, information can be gathered regarding:

  • Coordination of the rectal and anal muscles
  • Reflex action of the rectal and anal muscles
  • Sensation within the rectum
  • Strength and weakness of the anal and rectal muscles

Anal Sphincter EMG | Balloon Expulsion Test | Barium Enema | The Colonic Transit Time Test | Colonoscopy | Defecography | MRI Defecography | Hydrogen Breath Testing | Lactose Intolerance Testing | Sigmoidoscopy | Upper GI Series | Upper Endoscopy | Virtual Colonoscopy

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