Studies of both rectosphincteric reflex threshold and conscious rectal sensitivity threshold were performed on 15 control subjects and 61 children with a radiological megarectum, 70% of whom were encopretics. In control subjects, the reflex threshold and the sensitivity threshold were obtained with a comparable volume of rectal distension. In the megarectum patients, sensitivity was often considerably reduced, the incidence of encopresis increasing proportionally with the decrease in conscious rectal sensitivity. Patients were segregated in three functional groups, according to measurements of the sensitivity threshold.
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