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About the Anus & Rectum

The rectum is the final portion of your large intestine. It is where stool (feces) is stored until it leaves the digestive system through your anus. The accumulation of stools stretches the walls of your rectum and signals the need for a bowel movement.

The anus is the opening at the end of your large intestine that leads out of the body. Stool or bowel movements pass out of the body through your anus. When you relax the sphincter muscle in your anus, the muscles in the wall of your rectum contract and the increase in pressure pushes out the stool. If the stool is very firm you may have to use your abdominal muscles, which press on the outside of the colon and rectum.

The anal sphincter, a ring of muscle at the opening of the anus, keeps it closed until a stool needs to pass. The pressure of stool collecting in the rectum causes your anal sphincter to relax, allowing stool to pass out of the body.

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Last modified on: 30 June 2015

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