Anatomy of the Large Intestine or Colon
The colon is an organ within the digestive system or gastro-intestinal system. It is also commonly called the intestine, or the large intestine, to differentiate it from the bowel or small intestine. Even though knowing the structure of the colon is not necessary for someone to carry out a colon cleanse, it is indeed helpful.
There are many things the colon is responsible for. Its main responsibility is to package waste and release it from the body. The colon also absorbs water, produces vitamin K through bacteria, and is involved in disease fighting within the immune system. The whole intestine is approximately about 60 inches in length, and therefore has a large surface area. The large intestine is divided into four different parts – the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon.
As the name suggests the ascending colon is that area of the large intestine from the distance from the small intestine to the area where the colon touches the lower part of the liver. This area of the large intestine is known as the hepatic flexure because it bends to form the transverse colon afterwards. The ascending colon is located on the right side of the body and is the sight of the appendix.
The transverse colon is the area of the colon from the ending of the ascending colon to the beginning of the descending colon where the intestine touches the spleen. This area is known as the splenic flexure because it bends to form the descending colon. Therefore, the transverse colon is located between the hepatic and splenic flexures. It transverses or ‘runs across the body from right to left.
The descending colon is the area of the intestine that is located from the splenic flexure to the sigmoid colon. This part of the colon is located on the left side of the body and is where the final absorption of water and packaging of stool takes place to be released through the sigmoid colon to the rectum.
The sigmoid colon is responsible for transporting the feces from the descending colon to the rectum. It is called the sigmoid colon because it is shaped like the letter “S”. The sigmoid colon has more muscles in its walls, because it is in this area that is needed to contract to expel waste from the body.