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Once food waste reaches the sigmoid colon, it remains there until it is ready to be excreted from the body. As the faecal material enters the rectum, the walls distend to accommodate it. When sufficient pressure occurs within the distended rectal cavity, the urge to eliminate wastes begins. When receptors of the nervous system within the rectal wall are stimulated by its stretching, they send impulses to the anal canal, chest and abdominal-wall muscles, and the medulla of the brain, which makes the individual conscious of the need to defaecate.

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