A sitz marker test uses tiny 'markers' to test how fast food is moving through the intestines. It is most often used with patients who are suffering from chronic constipation, for example less than two bowel movements per week.
What happens during a sitz marker test?
Your doctor will give you a small capsule to swallow. This capsule contains small markers which will show up on x-rays and let the doctors track their progress through your intestines.
After several days you will asked to return to the doctor's surgery or hospital, and x-rays will be taken of your abdomen to see if any of the markers are left in your colon or whether they have all been expelled from the body. The more markers you have left in your body, the slower your colon motility.
What results will I have if I am suffering from IBS?
In general, if you are found to have very slow bowel motility (ie: most of the sitz markers have remained in your body) then you may have slow transit constipation rather than IBS, and doctors may want to investigate how well you relax the muscles around the anal sphincter or, in very severe cases, talk about surgery to remove portions of the colon.
However, some IBS sufferers do have severe constipation problems, and so you may still have IBS if the sitz markers have remained in your body, or it may be a combination of problems.
sitz marker test experiences
IMPORTANT NOTE: Although some people find these tests uncomfortable and occasionally painful, they are vital diagnostic tools. I
would always recommend having any and all of these tests if they are recommended by your doctor. You should also make sure you follow your doctor's preparation instructions carefully.
The tale of...Marilyn
I took the sitz marker capsules last week and had my two x-rays today. My doctor's office called and said that I still had markers showing up in my colon (didn't say how many) so I need to have another round of x-rays in three days. I will also have an anorectal manometry and EMG test next Monday. I am curious as to what can be done. This doctor is with Baylor College of Medicine, Houston - Dr Ergun and she is fabulous. Finally, someone is trying to find out the cause(s) of my chronic constipation without just telling me to eat more broccoli.
The tale of...Chandra
I finally got a doctor to help me, and he offered me the sitz marker test. I took the capsule full of 24 little rings, and I then went in for
three x-rays after that. On the last x-ray I still had 24 markers in my colon. I go to see my doctor soon to see what is going to happen next. If
anyone has any questions you can e-mail me.
I took the sitz marker capsule last Friday. I had the x-ray today. All 22 markers were located to the left and higher than the navel, mostly clustered together. I have multiple sclerosis. I have had chronic constipation since 1984. Doctors have made me feel like a hypochondriac and problem child for the past 21 years. Last month, finally, a new gastroenterologist humored me and did a colonoscopy. He told my husband it was the worst he had ever seen - I have no peristalsis. Thus, the sitz marker test.
I do not yet have a follow-up appointment and have no idea what cure there may be. All I know is I do not and have not had an unassisted bowel movement in nearly 15 years.