Colonic and anorectal function in defaecation and continence

Author: Paul Heitmann

Heitmann, Paul, 2021 Colonic and anorectal function in defaecation and continence, Flinders University, College of Medicine and Public Health

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The physiology of the human colon is poorly understood, particularly in regards to motility (muscle activity) and transit (movement of colonic content). This is a significant hindrance in how we investigate and treat common conditions relating to bowel function such as faecal incontinence and constipation.

This thesis describes the functional colonic physiology and pathophysiology relating to continence and defaecation using a combination of clinical studies as well as laboratory-based studies using excised human colonic tissue. The most significant findings included; (1) the discordance between anorectal function and symptom severity in faecal incontinence; (2) an assessment of colonic function in childhood constipation; (3) a description of gas transit in relation to contractile activity in the distal colon, and; (4) a description of the generation and regulation of spontaneous muscle contractions in the human colon.

Keywords: colorectal surgery, colonic motility, pelvic floor, faecal incontinence, constipation, anorectal physiology, colonic manometry, anorectal manometry

Subject: Medical Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2021
School: College of Medicine and Public Health
Supervisor: A/Prof Phil Dinning