In individuals with a normal anatomy, the large intestine (colon) empties into a pouch-like portion of bowel (rectum). Through complex nerve and muscle structures, the rectum releases stool through the anus out of the body.
Review Date 9/19/2021
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, General Surgery Practice Specializing in Breast Cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.