from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Anus of a woman - recognizable the muscular cuff that enables the correct closure of the rectum as well as parts of the labia ( vulva ) and the perineal suture ( raphe perinei )

The anus ( Latin ānus '(foot) ring' , ancient Greek πρωκτός prōktos ), German after ( mhd. After , ahd. Aftero , actually "rear"; substantiated from "behind, below"), colloquially also asshole , rosette or poperze , is the outlet opening of the intestinal canal in humans and multicellular animals . The feces leave the intestines through the anus .

Origin of the anus

Schematic representation of bowel formation in primitive and
new mouths

The anus evolved together with the intestine as its outlet and appeared for the first time in bilateria , which consist of three cotyledons . In contrast, phylogenetically more primordial organisms such as the cnidarians (Cnidaria) and the comb jellyfish (Ctenophora) have a gastric space with a mouth opening, but no anus separated from it. A directed transport of food is enabled through the anus, in which indigestible food residues can be excreted separately from the mouth opening. Within the Bilateria, only very few groups do not have an anus, such as the flatworms (platelet worms) and the jaw mouths (Gnathostomulida).

Unlike the intestine, the anus is not formed by the endoderm , which forms a so-called gastrula with the invagination of a primal mouth (blastopore) into the blastula , but by the ectoderm . The cavity ( blastocoel ) created during gastrulation develops into the intestine, which forms another opening at the other end of the body, which is lined with an ectoderm. In this way, an intestinal canal is created with an entry and an exit opening, which later become the mouth and anus. In the case of the original mouths (protostomia), the original mouth becomes the final mouth and the opening becomes the anus. The actual formation of the intestine can proceed very differently, with the annelid worms the blastopore arises as a slit-like indentation which is closed on the abdomen and from which the mouth and anus emerge without a new breakthrough.

In the case of the new mouths (deuterostomia), which also includes vertebrates and thus also humans, the original mouth becomes the later anus and the secondary breakthrough on the front of the embryo becomes the mouth opening.

General structure

In its simplest form, the anus represents a simple opening of the intestine to the outside through which the indigestible food residue can leave it. As a rule, it is surrounded by muscles that continue the intestinal peristalsis and thus move the feces out. In vertebrates there are also sphincters at the anus , through which bowel evacuation can take place in a controlled manner.

In numerous invertebrates and their larvae, the anus fulfills other tasks in addition to defecating. For example, in the anus of the dragonfly larvae there is a tissue with a strong blood supply that is used for intestinal respiration . In insects, the anal area is surrounded by a chitinous end ring, the periproct , as well as the anal valves consisting of an unpaired epiproct and the paired paraproct .

Anal glands are formed in the anal region of many mammalian species . In the amphibians , the reptiles grouped together, and the birds, there is a common body outlet for the digestive, sexual and excretory organs with the cloaca . It is a section of the rectum into which the outlet ducts of the genital organs ( gonoducts ) and the ureters open, whose products ( sperm and egg cells ) and excreta such as excrement are released via the anus.

Mammalian anus


Overview of the human gastrointestinal tract:
1 =  esophagus , 2 =  stomach , 3 =  duodenum , 4 =  small intestine , 5 =  appendix , 6 =  appendix , 7 =  colon , 8 =  rectum , 9 =  anus  - internal sphincter muscle and External sphincter muscle

The anal canal (Canalis analis) of humans can be divided into three sections, which are characterized by a gradual transition from the mucous membrane of the intestine to the outer skin :

  • Zona columnalis : with longitudinal folds (Columnae anales) and indentations in between (anal crypts) with the mouths of the proctodeal glands (Glandulae anales)
  • Zona intermedia : with a multilayered squamous epithelium
  • Zona cutanea : with cornified, multilayered squamous epithelium, sweat and sebum glands and hair .

The dentate line marks the boundary between the squamous epithelium of the anal canal and the epithelium of the rectum.

Schematic representation of the continence organ of a healthy man with the sphincter open

Around the opening of the anus, two sphincter muscles are arranged under the skin or mucous membrane , which together with other structures of the rectum form the continence organ:

  • Musculus sphincter ani internus (internal anal sphincter ): It represents a strengthening of the smooth muscles of the intestinal wall.
  • Musculus sphincter ani externus (external anal sphincter ): It consists of striated muscles , so it can be influenced at will.


The peristalsis of the anal canal is stimulated by parasympathetic nerve fibers from the cross section of the spinal cord (Nervi pelvini) . These also cause the internal anal sphincter to relax. In interaction with the abdominal muscles (abdominal press), this leads to an emptying of the rectum via the defecation reflex (excrement, defecation ). The column of feces is pushed out of the intestine. If the abdominal muscles are not used for elimination, defecation will take longer.

The sympathetic nerve fibers of the hypogastric nerve reduce peristalsis and increase the tone of the internal anal sphincter. This enables stool retention (Continentia alvi) . By arbitrarily influencing the external anal sphincter, the excrement can be suppressed. It is innervated by the pudendal nerve (or its caudal rectal nerve ) .

The sensory innervation of the anus takes place via the nervi anococcygei and the nervus perinealis superficialis ("superficial dam nerve") of the nervus pudendus. Since the anus has a large number of nerve endings , it is very sensitive and is also regarded as an erogenous zone , especially the external anus muscle and the perineal muscles that separate from it ( see also anal reflex , anal intercourse ).

Examination and diseases of the anus

The anus and rectum are examined and treated by the proctologist :

The anus can have various malformations and diseases, for example

Also rectal foreign body may occur.

A surgically artificial anus is called colostomy (an abbreviation of artificial anus , lat. For "anus before the natural end") refers.

supporting documents

  1. Joseph Maria Stowasser , M. Petschenig, F. Skutsch, R. Pichl, H. Reitterer, E. Sattmann, J. Semmler, K. Smolak, W. Winkler: Der Kleine Stowasser. Latin-German school dictionary . 2nd Edition. Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, Vienna 1987, ISBN 3-209-00225-8 .
  2. ^ Wilhelm Pape: Concise dictionary of the Greek language . tape 2 . Braunschweig, 1914, p. 803 ( keyword "πρωκτός" at .).
  3. ^ After, der ,, accessed on July 11, 2017
  4. Reinhard Rieger : Triploblastic Eumetazoa, Bilateria. In: Wilfried Westheide , Reinhard Rieger (Ed.): Special Zoology. Part 1. Protozoa and invertebrates. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart / Jena 1997, ISBN 3-8274-1482-2 ; P. 195.
  5. a b Reinhard Rieger : Triploblastic Eumetazoa, Bilateria. In: Wilfried Westheide , Reinhard Rieger (Ed.): Special Zoology. Part 1. Protozoa and invertebrates. Gustav Fischer, Stuttgart / Jena 1997, ISBN 3-8274-1482-2 ; P. 190.
  6. Herder Lexicon of Biology . CD-ROM. Spectrum Akademischer Verlag, Heidelberg 2003, ISBN 3-8274-0354-5 , keyword "Kloake".


  • A. Benninghoff, D. Drenckhahn (Ed.): Anatomie. 16th edition. Urban and Fischer, Munich 2004, ISBN 3-437-42350-9 .
  • Alexander Neiger (Ed.): Diseases of the anus and the rectum (=  gastroenterological training courses for the practice . Volume 3 ). Basel 1973.
  • Franz-Viktor Salomon: digestive apparatus, apparatus digestorius. In: Franz-Viktor Salomon, Hans Geyer, Uwe Gille (Ed.): Anatomy for veterinary medicine. Enke Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8304-1007-7 , pp. 235–323.

Web links

Commons : Anus  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Anus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations