The rectum is the last portion of the large intestine, immediately following the sigmoid colon, and ends at the anus. The rectum acts as a storage chamber for stool and can sense the volume and the consistency of the stool. As the sigmoid colon becomes full, stool passes into the rectum, causing an urge to move the bowels (defecate).
The anus is the opening at the far end of the digestive tract through which stool leaves the body. The anus has very complex anatomy and derives its form and function from both the intestine and the skin. A muscular ring (anal sphincter) serves to keep the anus closed until the person has a bowel movement.
The anus and rectum are susceptible to a range of symptoms from persistent itching to cancer. Treatments are available for most of these conditions. If you experience any of the symptoms listed in this section, please call our office for an evaluation.