The rectum (from the Latin rectum
intestinum, meaning straight intestine) is the final straight portion of the
large intestine in some mammals, and the gut in others, terminating in the
anus. The human rectum is about 12 cm long. Its size is similar to that of
the sigmoid colon at its beginning, but it is dilated near its end, forming
the rectal ampulla.
The rectum acts as a temporary storage site for feces. As
the rectal walls expand due to the materials filling it from within, stretch
receptors from the nervous system located in the rectal walls stimulate the
desire to defecate. If the urge is not acted upon, the material in the
rectum is often returned to the colon where more water is absorbed. If
defecation is delayed for a prolonged period, constipation and hardened
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This information is strictly educational and is not, in any way, meant to prescribe or to constitute medical advice. The information provided is designed to be used in conjunction with the guidance of a healthcare professional. The author assumes no responsibility for any presumed health effects associated with using this information.