Rectal Hyposensitivity Is Associated With a Defecatory Disorder But Not Delayed Colon Transit Time in a Functional Constipation Population

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The physiological mechanism of functional constipation (FC) includes defecatory disorders and delayed colon transit. About 18% to 68% constipated patients may have rectal hyposensitivity (RH). We performed this study to investigate the association between RH and functional defecatory disorder (FDD) as well as that between RH and delayed colon transit in FC patients.

A total of 218 FC patients were enrolled. The constipation severity instrument (CSI) was used to assess constipation symptoms. High-resolution anorectal manometry (HR-ARM), defecography, balloon expulsion tests, and colon transit studies were performed for each patient. RH was defined as 1 or more sensory threshold pressures raised beyond the normal range based on HR-ARM. We investigated the association between RH and constipation symptoms, and the occurrence of FDD and delayed CTT. Ninety FDD patients completed the initial phase of biofeedback treatment (BFT). We investigated the association between RH and the effect of BFT.

Totally 122 (56.0%) patients had RH. The total CSI (49.82 ± 1.09 vs 41.25 ± 1.55, P = 0.023) and obstructive defecation subscale scores (23.19 ± 0.69 vs 17.07 ± 0.90, P < 0.001) were significantly higher in RH than in non-RH patients. No significant difference was observed in slow transit symptoms (21.77 ± 0.72 vs 19.90 ± 0.85, P = 0.121) or abdominal pain (6.85 ± 2.61 vs 5.00 ± 1.04, P = 0.380). The frequency of prolonged CTT was not significantly different between RH and non-RH groups (54.1% vs 58.3%, P = 0.403). RH patients rated more occurrence of FDD (72.1% vs 53.1%, P = 0.014) and dysynergic defecation (79.8% vs 50.2%, P = 0.004) than non-RH patients, whereas no differences were seen for inadequate defecatory propulsion (59.2% vs 55.0%, P = 0.589). After BFT, the proportion of “no effect” was significantly higher in the RH group than in the non-RH group (22.4% vs 9.4%, P = 0.010).

RH is associated with obstructive defecation symptoms and the occurrence of FDD. Further studies are needed to detect the mechanism of RH's effect on BFT and FC.

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