The assessment and management of defecatory dysfunction: a critical appraisal

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize the advances in diagnostic modalities and management options for defecatory dysfunction and highlight the areas in need of further research.

Recent findings

The diagnostic utility of high-resolution anorectal manometry (ARM), which has emerged as a promising tool for the diagnosis of defecatory dysfunction, appears to be questionable in differentiating disease from normal physiology. There also seems to be discrepancy between results of various tests of anorectal function in the diagnosis of defecatory dysfunction. New revisions in diagnostic criteria for defecatory dysfunction by Rome IV consortium, may enhance its diagnostic yield. Biofeedback remains to be the most effective evidence-based treatment option for patients with defecatory dysfunction. Anorectal pressure profile cannot predict or mediate the success of biofeedback. Biofeedback may improve the symptoms through central effects.

Summary

Despite the advances in the ARM and defecography techniques, no one test has been able to be considered as the ‘gold standard’ for diagnosis of defecatory dysfunction. The mechanism of action of biofeedback in defecatory dysfunction remains poorly understood.

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