2 Scopus citations


Background: Functional defecatory disorders (FDD) are common among women. Despite the extensive research on peripheral mechanisms involved in FDD, the central–neural contribution to its pathophysiology remains poorly understood. We aimed to delineate specific supra-spinal regions involved in defecation and examine whether their activity, as measured by blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signals, is different in FDD. Methods: We performed functional MRI (fMRI) with concurrent rectal manometry in 15 controls and 18 females with ROME III diagnosis of FDD. A block design was used and brain activation maps based on BOLD effect employing the generalized linear model were calculated for each subject. Statistical significance between groups was assessed by a Student t-test with cluster-based multiple comparisons correction (corrected p < 0.01). Key Results: Simulated defecation was associated with activation of regions of primary and supplementary motor (SMA) and somatosensory cortices, homeostatic afferent (thalamus, mid-cingulate cortex, and insula), and emotional arousal networks (hippocampus and prefrontal cortex), occipital and cerebellum along with deactivation of right anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in controls. Women with FDD had fewer regions engaged in defecation and BOLD activation was much decreased is areas related to executive-cognitive function (insula, parietal, and prefrontal cortices). Patients unlike controls showed activation in right ACC and otherwise had similar brain activation patterns during anal squeeze. Conclusions & Inferences: Our results provide evidence that distinct differences exist in supra-spinal control of defecation in key regions of motivational-affective regulation and executive-cognitive function, in patients with FDD as compared to controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere14389
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • dyssynergic defecation
  • functional MRI
  • functional defecatory disorder
  • pelvic floor
  • rectal evacuation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Alterations in brain activation patterns in women with functional defecatory disorder: A novel fMRI rectal balloon expulsion study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this