Know your colon
The food we take in gets broken, digested and all the unwanted products get eliminated. This fantastic system is the digestive system.
In the digestive system we have mouth, food pipe, stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Colon is another name for the large intestine.
So important is the colon system to the body that is formed when the fetes are 3mnths old in the uterus…
The colon is 4 ft. 5 inches in length and 2.5 feet in width.
Ileocecal valve is a small opening at the end of the small intestine which controls the flow of contents from the small intestine to the large intestine. The large intestine begins from here and is divided into 6 parts, on the right side of the body it begins with a climb, so it is called the ascending colon, it then turns horizontal and becomes the transverse colon, from there it becomes the descending colon descending into the sigmoid colon, which is S- shaped hence it is called the sigmoid colon, the Rectum commences here and finally ends in the anus.
This forms the entire sewage system of the body. The food enters the ascending colon in liquid form and its transition to the semisolid form would occur in the transverse colon.
The colon is made of connective tissue, which is motile in the inside and hard outside. This undergoes a contractile movement called the peristalsis which kneads the food. The inner lining of the colon is also rich in micro flora which ferments the digested food. The impulse to defecate occurs when the digested food travels from the sigmoid to the rectum.
Interestingly the food may reach the large intestine in 2hrs after food ingestion but might take nearly 2 days to get expelled. Even if a third of the large intestine were to be excised it would have no impact either on the continence or the quality of the stool.
Since 61% of the nutrient absorption as already occurred here the water soluble nutrients are absorbed. Vitamin K is a major nutrient absorbed in the colon vitamin k is essential for the clotting of blood
The peristaltic movement also pushes the food forward, till it reaches the rectum which can be equated to the refuse storage plant, from where it is expelled out through the anus this expulsion is controlled by the anal-sphincter,
The function of the colon is essentially 3 fold.
- Accepting and store food not accepted by the small intestine.
- Absorbing water and minerals from the small intestine refuse. This absorption of water maintains the electrolyte balance of the body
- To eliminate the solid waste.
This process is assisted by the micro flora of the body. The intestinal micro flora exist in a delicate balance, this balance gets disturbed by irregular, habits and stress resulting constipation, gas and sometimes even Candida infection,