The colon is an important part of the digestive system that serves in extracting water from the faeces. It is part of the large intestine and found in between the cecum and rectum and consists of the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid. From the cecum to the mid-transverse is called right portion while the remainder is known as the left portion.

The ascending part is 12.5 cm long, retroperitoneal in structure and lies on the right side of the abdomen. The transverse part rises from the hepatic flexure to the splenic flexure and tends to hang off the stomach. It is here attached to a wide band of tissue, the greater momentum. The transverse colon is the only mobile part of the large intestine as it is enclosed in peritoneum.

The splenic flexure to the start of the sigmoid intestine is called the descending colon. It is retroperitoneal in most humans while in some, it has a short mesentery. The part of the large intestine before the rectum and after the descending portion is called the sigmoid colon which is also due to its S-shaped. Its walls are muscular and tend to contract to increase the pressure in the large intestine. This in turn pushes the stool into the rectum.

Sometimes the intermittent high pressure inside the intestine develops pockets called divertisulli in its walls. The presence of both harmful and safe diverticulli is called diverticulosis and its infection called, diverticulitis. The best means of examining the sigmoid portion is with a diagnostic technique called sigmoidoscopy.

The large intestine comes after the small intestine and is responsible for storing waste, maintaining water balance in the body, reclaiming water and absorbing vitamins like vitamin K. when chime reaches this tube, most of the nutrients in the food, and 90% of water is absorbed by the body. It is at this point that electrolytes like sodium, magnesium, chloride and indigestible carbohydrates like dietary fiber are left.

Once the chyme moves through the large intestine most of the water present in the chyme is removed. When this chyme mixes with mucus and bacteria, you find gut flora which in turn becomes feces. It is the working of bacteria that breaks down the fiber for their nourishment wherein waste products like acetate, butyrate and propionate gets created. These waste products are in turn used by the cell lining of the colon for its nourishment.

So it can be seen that the colon is in charge of three important functions in the body. It is responsible for the concentration of fecal effluent with water and electrolyte absorption, helps in the storage and evacuation of fecal material and helps in the digestion and absorption of undigested food. The colon is generally not needed for survival; it’s only that its functions contribute to the well being of humans. The right portion (ascending and cecum) are responsible for absorption of water and electrolyte and fermentation of undigested sugars while the left portion (descending, sigmoid and rectum) helps in the storage and evacuation of stool.

Before embarking on any detox of your colon, read ore about our recommended Colon Cleanse Program.