Medical Tests Required

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/27/2011 7:50 PM (GMT -6)   

I am in the process of working with a gastroenterologist and colo-rectal surgeon to determine the cause of long-term chronic constipation.

I am dependent on 2-3 laxatives a day or I cannot go for days and weeks at a time. I have recently had a colonoscopy which did not show anything conclusive.

The surgeon asked me to have these tests:
Anorectal Manometry
EMG Pudendal Nerve Study
Colonic Transit Studies (Marker test)

I asked her which ones will be painful. She said the EMG would be painful.

I would appreciate feedback from those who have had any of these test as to what I can expect and how much pain I should mentally prepare myself for.

Thank you!

2b ColonFree
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2603
   Posted 9/28/2011 3:48 AM (GMT -6)   
these tests are more unpleasant rather than painful. i never had the EMG, so can't tell.
anorectal manometry - you'll have to do a fleet enema before the test. they will ask you to squeez than relax. they check whether the pressure of your rectal and anal muscles are normal and whether the capacity/volume of your rectum is normal. 
defecography - it's a video x ray of the rectum with contrast (barium). you'll have to do a fleet enema for this too. they give you barium to drink, and after i think half hour or so they call you in. they fill the rectum and vagina with thikcer barium, then you sit on a toilet like thing, the x ray machine is next to you and they ask you to squeez, then expel the barium like you do when you have a bm. the contrast enables them to see the anatomy and function abilities of the rectum.
marker test - each hospital/dr do it a bit differently. but for the most part, you are supposed to take a capsule that contains 24 little rings that are shown on an x ray. and every couple/few days they take an x ray and see how far they've gone. during the days of this test (which goes on at least for 5 days), you are not allowed to take any kind of laxatives or use enemas/suppositories - you must not do anything to help your bowels during these days, cuz they have to see their real functioning. some drs ask the patients to quit laxatives/enemas/suppositories etc few days before swollowing the capsule, but each dr works differently.
good luck!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 4147
   Posted 9/28/2011 4:23 PM (GMT -6)   

You are being given good advice regarding which tests to have. These are all the correct tests. IF they do the EMG with the needle electrodes I don't know how anyone could stand that, but they do have this option of paste-on electrodes that would not be painful at all.

Talk to the actual doctor (not just the tech) who does the EMG test. Get ALL details. Then ask about the EMG with the paste-on sensors. If need be, just call around and see what hospitals have the paste-on EMG sensors.


New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 9/28/2011 9:21 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh Wow,

Thank you both so much for the responses. I really appreciate the time taken in the first response to share your knowledge and experience with 3 of these tests... and Rosemary, that is wonderful to know that there may be pain free alternative to the EMG. I will definitely look into that.

I can handle discomfort (after all, if it weren't for chronic discomfort I wouldn't be spending time with doctors), but the anticipation of 10 full minutes of pain in this area.... I kind of want to run far far away.

Again thank you very much -- I am so glad to find this helpful forum :-)

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