Normal Rectal Filling Sensations in Patients with an Enlarged Rectum

Sanne J. Verkuijl*, Monika Trzpis, Paul M. A. Broens

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)
    142 Downloads (Pure)


    BackgroundIncreased rectal volume is believed to be associated with diminished rectal sensation, i.e., rectal hyposensitivity.AimsTo demonstrate that patients with increased rectal volumes do not automatically have diminished rectal filling sensations.MethodsWe, retrospectively, observed 100 adult patients with defecation problems, and 44 healthy controls who had undergone anorectal function tests. Using the balloon retention test, we analyzed the distribution of rectal volumes and pressures at different rectal filling sensation levels.ResultsWe found variance in the distribution of rectal volumes at all levels, while rectal pressures showed a normal distribution. We found no correlation between rectal volumes and pressures (constant sensation, r=0.140, P=0.163, urge sensation, r=-0.090, P=0.375, and maximum tolerable volumes, r=-0.091, P=0.366), or when taking age and sex into account. The findings for the patient group were congruent with those for the control group.ConclusionsParticipants with increased rectal volumes do not experience increased rectal pressures at any sensation level. This finding, combined with the knowledge that rectal pressure triggers rectal filling sensation, indicates that rectal filling sensations in patients with increased rectal volumes are not diminished. Therefore, rectal hyposensitivity should be reserved for patients with increased rectal pressure thresholds, and not for abnormally increased rectal volume thresholds.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1312-1319
    Number of pages8
    JournalDigestive Diseases and Sciences
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - May-2019


    • Anorectal manometry
    • Rectal hyposensitivity
    • Filling sensation
    • Chronic constipation


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