The rectum has no sacculations comparable to those of the colon, but when the lower part of the rectum is contracted, its mucous membrane is thrown into a number of folds, which are longitudinal in direction and are effaced by the distension of the gut. Besides these there are certain permanent transverse folds, of a semilunar shape, known as the transverse folds of rectum (Houston's valves). They are usually three in number; sometimes a fourth is found, and occasionally only two are present. One is situated near the commencement of the rectum, on the right side; a second extends inward from the left side of the tube, opposite the middle of the sacrum; a third, the largest and most constant, projects backward from the forepart of the rectum, opposite the fundus of the urinary bladder. When a fourth is present, it is situated nearly 2.5 cm. above the anus on the left and posterior wall of the tube. These folds are about 12 mm. in width, and contain some of the circular fibers of the gut. In the empty state of the intestine they overlap each other, as Houston remarks, so effectually as to require considerable maneuvering to conduct a bougie or the finger along the canal. Their use seems to be, "to support the weight of fecal matter, and prevent its urging toward the anus, where its presence always excites a sensation demanding its discharge.