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 5/14/2017
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.