The colon or large intestine is the largest part of the digestive tract in the human body. Your digestive tract consists of a group of organs that foods and liquids pass through when they are swallowed, digested, and absorbed.
The Function of Colon
The colon plays a very vital role in how your body digests all the food you eat. Read on to find out the process of how food travels through the body, in this sequence:
- Small intestine
Food digestion begins in the mouth. Then, the food is chewed by your teeth and broken into smaller particles. The salivary glands secrete saliva to soften the food before it moves through the esophagus. The esophagus is a 10-inch tube that connects your mouth to the stomach. Then, muscles in the walls of the esophagus move food into the stomach.
In the stomach, protein substances called enzymes, break down food into smaller substances. The stomach has strong muscles to squeeze and churn food until it turns into a thick, creamy liquid called chyme – which then travels to the small intestine.
In the small intestine, the food particles are broken down into even smaller particles. Fluids from the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder are all mixed in the small intestine. This is where all the essential vitamins and nutrients in food are absorbed through the lining of your small intestine into your blood. Blood supplies nutrients to other organs in your body. Nutrients are used to help repair cells and tissues.
Most of the remaining nutrients and water are absorbed by the colon. Bacteria in the colon help break down the remaining food products. Then, it transfers the remaining food products into the rectum. The rectum is like a waste storage facility. The rectum receives stool from your colon and keeps the stool until you are ready to have a bowel movement.
Implementing a healthy diet is good for your overall health. Particularly, a low-calorie, high-fiber diet, which you can find in fruits and vegetables. It is important for maintaining a healthy colon, where it will eliminate any food waste that your body no longer needs. If your colon is not working properly, you will experience problems such as bloating and gas pains.
Who is a Colon and Rectal (Colorectal) Surgeon?
Colon and rectal (colorectal) surgeons specialize in the surgical and non-surgical treatment of diseases occurring in the colon, rectum, and anus. Surgeons receive advanced surgical training and general surgical training in the management of colorectal disease. Colorectal surgeons are experienced in treating benign and malignant tumors (cancer) of the colon, rectum, and anus. In addition, they are also able to perform regular screening tests and surgical procedures if necessary. Consult a colorectal surgeon if you display any symptoms that may indicate you have colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is preventable, and one of the most curable types of cancer when detected early.