Anismus, or constipation due to functional obstruction at the pelvic outlet by paradoxical contraction of the striated sphincter muscles during defaecation straining, is described in ten constipated patients and four patients with Parkinson's disease and constipation. The dysfunctional pattern of muscle recruitment resembled that characteristic of dystonia elsewhere in the body and was indistinguishable in patients with idiopathic anismus and those with extrapyramidal motor disturbance due to Parkinson's disease. These findings suggest that anismus may be a focal dystonic phenomenon.
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