Forty seven healthy young volunteers underwent defecographic examination to determine the range of normal findings. Normality was shown to encompass radiological features often considered pathological. These features included broad ranges of anorectal angle and pelvic floor descent which overlap with reported pathological states. Furthermore, the formation of rectocoeles during defecation was a very common finding in women. Finally, a subgroup of the volunteers had marginal anorectal function. The marginal anorectal function and certain radiological findings such as rectocoeles or intussusceptions may predispose to later problems, or contribute to clinical problems when combined with other factors such as dietary fibre deficiency. The radiological findings raise a number of questions with respect to different aspects of the functioning of the continence and defecation mechanisms.
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