The human colon is an interesting though often overlooked organ within the digestive system. Yet, the colon is exceptionally important when it comes to maintaining a healthy body. Here’s a look at the colon and what it does for your body.
An Overview of the Human Colon
In short, the human colon is a six-foot long organ that is an integral part of the digestive system. Its function is to transport waste material from the small intestine to the rectum. While food is still in the small intestine, all nutrients are removed and used by your body. The leftover waste matter is then passed onto the large intestine, which is the first portion of the colon.
In addition to serving as a transport channel, the colon also absorbs water from the waste it pushes through to the next stage. On the downside, the human colon may also absorb materials that are harmful to your body. The longer the waste material sits in your colon, the more likely it is to absorb these toxins.
Anatomy of the Colon:
The Ascending Colon
The ascending colon is the portion found on the right side of abdomen. This places the ascending colon near the liver.
The Transverse Colon
The transverse colon is also near to the liver as well as in proximity to the spleen. This part of the human colon hangs from the stomach, attached by a band of tissue called the greater omentum. The transverse colon is one of only two parts of the colon that is somewhat mobile.
The transverse colon is the portion of the colon that is most likely to develop cancer, due to more of the solid wastes being moved and stored in this area.
The Descending Colon
The descending colon connects the sigmoid colon to the splenic flexure. The majority of people also have a little empty space in the abdominal cavity around the descending colon.
The Sigmoid Colon
The sigmoid colon, which gets its name because of its S-shape, is also a part of the large intestine. It is found between the descending colon and the rectum. The sigmoid colon has muscular walls able to contract in order to increase the amount of pressure in the colon. This makes it possible for the stool to move to the rectum. The sporadic pressure the sigmoid colon creates can cause pockets, called diverticuli, to develop, which can lead to a serious infection under the wrong circumstances.
Recognizing a Healthy Colon
For the most part, you can tell how long waste sits in your colon based upon how often you have a bowel movement. Therefore, the more often you have a bowel movement, the cleaner your colon will tend to be. At the same time, it is possible to have an unhealthy colon while still seemingly having regular bowel movements. This is because the waste can accumulate on the inner lining of the colon, which will cause it to release toxins back into your bloodstream. For this reason, you may not recognize your colon is unhealthy unless you are suffering from constipation or other digestive problems.
Keeping the Colon Healthy
The best way to keep the human colon healthy is to maintain a healthy diet rich in fiber. Fiber can be found in vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Fiber is beneficial to the colon because it is not digestible. As a result, fiber stays in the colon and absorbs water. This water then becomes mixed with waste matter and helps to soften it. In addition, fiber adds bulk to the stool. This makes it easier to move it through the bowels for proper elimination.
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, you should also drink plenty of water. It is particularly important to increase water intake along with fiber intake. Otherwise, the extra fiber can actually have the opposite effect and cause you to become more constipated.
Regular exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy human colon. By engaging in regular exercise, you are less likely to become constipated and you are less likely to develop other digestive problems as well.
It is also important to perform a regular colon cleansing in order to keep your colon healthy. With a colon cleansing, all of the waste imbedded into your colon wall can be removed from the body. This will prevent the toxins from being released to your bloodstream and will also help your bowel movements move much easier through your digestive system. The human colon is a complex and marvelous work of biological engineering, and with just a little routine maintenance, it can do wonders for keeping your body free of toxins and able to perform its best every day.