Egestion: Definition, Types, Mechanism, and Examples

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Egestion Definition

The word egestion comes from a Latin word, which means to carry out. Egestion can be defined as the process, in which unwanted and food not digested is removed out of the body in the form of feces.

What is Egestion?

Egestion in humans and animals involves various steps such as contraction of the walls, after which the feces is moved to the rectum, where it resides in the rectum ampulla.

Egestion, Egestion Definition, What is Egestion,1

With the fecal matter getting gathered, the rectum wall enlarges and the receptors present in the wall of rectum gets triggered and further contract, whereas the internal anal sphincter will relax and the external sphincter muscle will contract, thus resulting in the removal of feces.

In case of reverse peristalsis, the material moves to the colon, where water is absorbed and is stored until the contractions occurs again. While elimination of waste, Valsalva maneuver is done, where air is released against a close side, which will result in the lung to stop the passing of air, while it moves the diaphragm below, resulting in the pressure on the digestive tract.

Egestion vs Excretion

Excretion can be defined as the process in which the waste product is removed from the body. Although excretion and egestion, in both process, there is removal of waste from the body, but both the process are not same. Because of the chemical reaction taking place within the body, waste is removed from the body in the form of sweat, urine and etc. in excretion.

In animals, which are multicellular as well as humans, excretion takes place through skin and kidneys. The removal of undigested by ejecting them out from the digestive tract to the anus is called as egestion. As plants don’t possess digestive system, they cannot perform egestion, thus, the removal of waste in plant occurs from the hydathodes and mostly through stomata.

Even gases like oxygen, which is in excess is released by the stomata. Through transpiration which involves stomata and guttation which involves hydathodes are the two process through which plants remove waste.

Egestion vs Ingestion

Egestion can be defined as the process, in which unwanted and food not digested is removed out of the body in the form of feces. Ingestion, whereas is the process in which food is taken into the body for digestion.

Egestion Disorders

If the feces stay within for a long duration, it may harden up, as water is being absorbed. Thus, the elimination of feces, might be challenging and require to put pressure. This is known as constipation. However, when feces is eliminated too quick and contains water it is known as diarrhea.

Importance of Egestion

This is a very important process in multicellular animals and humans, as it helps to regulate the body and get it cleaned by removing the undigested stuff and eliminate it out of the body. Although if one has not passed on his bowel for a long duration, it could result to megacolon, and eventually bowel rupture.

Egestion Citations
  • Limited ingestion, rapid egestion and no detectable impacts of microbeads on the moon jellyfish, Aurelia aurita. Mar Pollut Bull . 2020 Jul;156:111208.
  • Ingestion, egestion and post-exposure effects of polystyrene microspheres on marine medaka (Oryzias melastigma). Chemosphere . 2019 Aug;228:93-100. 
  • Rapid ingestion and egestion of spherical microplastics by bacteria-feeding nematodes. Chemosphere . 2020 Dec;261:128162.
  • Pellet egestion in modern carnivorous snakes. Curr Zool . 2020 Oct;66(5):593-595.
  • Figures are created with BioRender.com
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