What is the rectum?
The rectum (Latin rectum), is part of the colon. It is located in the small pelvis between bladder and sacrum. Its length is individually different and averages 15-20cm.
The rectum performs important functions of digestion. Sometimes malnutrition, an unhealthy lifestyle or serious illnesses can lead to a restriction of the activity of the intestine or the rectum. Symptoms such as pain, blood in the stool, frequent flatulence, diarrhea and constipation should be taken seriously and presented to a doctor.
Regular checkups are among the best prophylactic measures. A balanced, high-fiber diet and adequate hydration, the health of the rectum are beneficial.
Anatomy & Construction
The last part of the 8-meter-long intestine is the rectum. It is divided into the upper (ampoule recti) and the lower part (canalis analis). The latter is 2-3 cm long and flows into the anus. The rectum is supplied by the rectal artery and a network of fine blood vessels.
A peculiarity shows up in the veins of the rectum, which have a different outflow. This plays an important role especially in the spread of metastases. In its structure, the rectum shows as a membranous-muscular tube. Inside is the intestinal mucosa, which is surrounded by a smooth muscle layer in the outer area.
The conclusion is the so-called Tunica Serosa. In the lower part of the rectum an internal and external sphincter can be found. The internal sphincter, consisting of smooth muscles works involuntarily. It is different in the outer sphincter. Through the striated muscles he can be relaxed and relaxed. The rectal artery and the circular muscles, dense the rectum.
If it comes to increased pressure through the intestinal contents, the bowel movement is triggered. In this, the sphincter muscles relax and emptying of the intestine occurs. Pain receptors can not be found in the rectum but only in the sphincter muscles.
Functions & Tasks
In the rectum, the chyme is deprived of liquid. Important nutrients are filtered out and added to the body. The upper part of the rectum serves solely to retain the feces. The sphincter muscles in the lower part of the rectum also regulate the bowel movement.
Medications in the form of suppositories, enter through the rectum, through the liver, directly into the blood and therefore often work much better than orally taken drugs. Especially in patients with a sensitive stomach, suppositories can be a good alternative.
The most common illnesses include bloating, constipation and diarrhea. They are usually harmless and often caused by too fatty, low-fiber diet, obesity and increased alcohol and nicotine consumption.
However, if they occur more frequently and for a long time, consult a doctor in any case. Not infrequently, they lead to a chronic intestinal disease such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease or intestinal ulcers. As unpleasant and sometimes very embarrassing, hemorrhoids, anal fistulas and anal fissures are felt. However, they can be treated quickly and well.
Also, inflammations such as enteritis, diverticulitis or collagen collitis remain with the right treatment usually without sequelae for the rectum. The recurrent diseases include irritable bowel syndrome. The rectum can have many diseases. Harmless diseases include benign tumors such as polyps and adenomas. They are usually removed in a colonoscopy uncomplicated.
Far more dangerous is the rectal cancer. He is considered the second leading cause of cancer death in Germany. Only with timely detection of this very aggressive cancer is good to treat. Unfortunately, there are no clear early symptoms, so basically the possibilities of the most diverse examination methods should be used.
To diagnose the palpation, the stool test, colonoscopy, blood tests and virtual colonoscopy is used. A warning sign is blood in the stool. Although this may indicate harmless hemorrhoids, but is also often an indication of rectal cancer.
Typical & common intestinal diseases
- Crohn's disease (chronic intestinal inflammation)
- Intestinal inflammation (enteritis)
- Diverticulum in the intestine (diverticulosis)