Only when we know what is normal can we progress with finding effective ways of dealing with common and distressing conditions such as faecal incontinence and constipation.

The function of the anus and rectum can be measured using a variety of tests to assess muscle strength, capacity and sensation.

How will normal function be studied?

The study will recruit healthy volunteers, who have no diagnosis of an existing bowel condition. During the study a new range of diagnostic tests (EndoFlip and Rapid Barostat) will be assessed in order to establish between which ranges the function of the bowel, rectum and anus can be considered normal.

The study is now recruiting healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 - 75 and who have no prior GI or colorectal disorders. A fixed payment of up to £100 will be made to cover travel and expenses.

Find out more about becoming a healthy volunteer for this study.

The research team

The research is being led by Dr Mark Scott at the National Bowel Research Centre and Neurogastroenterolgy Group, Queen Mary University.

Why establish what is normal bowel function?

Thousands of people experience faecal incontinence or constipation, and in a significant number of people these symptoms are so bad that they severely impact the person’s quality of life. Fear of having an accident in public, for example, can effectively make people prisoners in their own homes.

Without knowing what is normal, tests for abnormal function are useless so developing a large dataset of normal function for emerging technologies is vital.

This study will enable the development of this definitive dataset for two technologies, EndoFlip and Rapid Barostat to enable clinicians to better identify dysfunction in their patients and prescribe appropriate treatment.