Manchesters Premier Gastroenterological Specialists

The large intestine, or colon, is wider and heavier then the small intestine, but much shorter—only about 4 ft (1.2 m) long. It rises up on one side of the body (the ascending colon), crosses over to the other side (the transverse colon), descends (the descending colon), forms an s-shape (the sigmoid colon), reaches the rectum, and anus, from which the waste products of digestion (feces or stool), are passed out, along with gas. The muscular rectum, about 5 in (13 cm) long, expels the feces through the anus, which has a large muscular sphincter that controls the passage of waste matter.


The large intestine extracts water from the waste products of digestion and returns some of it to the bloodstream, along with some salts. Fecal matter contains undigested food, bacteria, and cells from the walls of the digestive tract. Certain types of bacteria of the large intestine help to synthesize the vitamins needed by the body. These vitamins find their way to the bloodstream along with the water absorbed from the colon, while excess fluids are passed out with the feces.

Colonic Diseases

Your colon, also known as the large intestine, is part of your digestive system. It's a long, hollow tube at the end of your digestive tract where your body makes and stores stool. Many disorders affect the colon's ability to work properly. Some of these include


* Colorectal cancer
* Colonic polyps - wart like tissue growing in the colon that can become cancerous
* Ulcerative colitis - ulcers of the colon and rectum
* Diverticulitis - inflammation or infection of pouches in the colon
* Irritable bowel syndrome - an uncomfortable condition causing abdominal cramping and other symptoms


Treatment for colonic diseases varies greatly depending on the disease and its severity. Treatment may involve diet, medicines and in some cases, surgery.