Large intestine anatomy - length - function

Large intestine diseases and interesting facts

Large intestine is also known as large bowel or colon.

It is an important part of the digestive system, also known as gastrointestinal tract (GI).

Large intestine anatomy

Large intestine starts where the small intestine ends. It consists of :-

  • Cecum - this is the first sections of the large intestine. It is about two inches long and looks like a pouch. The digested food matter from the ileum(of small intestine) enters into the cecum and is then passed on to the colon.
  • Colon - is the major part of the large intestine. Most of the water is absorbed here and the salts too are absorbed when needed. Colon itself is made of four parts:
    • Ascending colon :- is the first part of colon. this part of colon pushes the undigested food upward, using muscle contractions, from the cecum
    • Tranverse colon :- the second part of colon. It is across the front abdominal wall, from left to right under the stomach, the food passes through it.
    • Descending colon :- the third part of colon. The undigested food is pushed down through S shaped. It empties the remaining undigested food contents into the rectum.
    • Sigmoid colon :- Is the final S shaped part of colon. It empties the contents into the rectum.
  • Rectum
  • Anus
  • Functions of large intestine

    The remaining digestive process takes place in the large intestine. The main function of large intestine is to absorb water from the food matter that has entered in it from the small intestine and which cannot be digested further.

    It passes the matter to the rectum in the stool form.

    Length of large intestine

    The large intestine length is about five feet or 1.5 meters. It is about one-fifth of the whole length of the intestinal canal. It is about 3 inches in diameter.

    Large intestine diseases

    • Colitis
    • Gastroenteritis
    • Iieus or the blockage of intestines.
    • Ulcerative colitis.
    • Diverticular disease.
    • Endometriosis.
    • Colon cancer

    Large intestine facts

    1. Large intestine gets its name because of its width not length.
    2. There are different kinds of bacteria in the large intestine.
    3. A person can live without the large intestine.
    4. Flatulence is caused by the gases built up in the large intestine.
    5. Undigested food enters the large intestine in a liquid paste form. It comes out into the rectum in a more solid, stool form.
    6. Food remains in the large intestine for about 18 - 48 hours.


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