The bowel is part of our digestive system. It’s divided into two parts: the small bowel and the large bowel. The large bowel is made up of the colon, rectum and anus.
When food has been swallowed, it passes down the gullet (oesophagus) to the stomach, where digestion begins. From here, it enters the small bowel, where essential nutrients are taken into the body. The digested food then moves into the colon, where water is absorbed. The remaining waste matter (stool or faeces), is held in the rectum (back passage) until it’s ready to be passed from the body through the anus as a bowel motion (stool).
The anus is the opening at the very end of the large bowel. It contains a ring of muscle called the sphincter. This opens and closes giving you control over when you pass bowel movements.