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Transverse Colon

The transverse colon is one of the four main components of the human colon, with the other three parts being the ascending colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon.  The transverse shares many common characteristics with the other parts, with the major difference being its location within the body.

Physiology of the Transverse

The transverse section is part of the large intestine, which is of a diameter larger than the small intestine. The large intestine begins at the ileocecal junction and connects to the anus, where waste is ultimately removed from the body. Aside from the colon, the large intestine is comprised of the rectum and the anal canal. Therefore, the transverse colon is just one small part of the entire digestive system.

The wall of the transverse is made of the same types of tissues found in the rest of the digestive tract.  All of the components of the large intestine have a few common characteristics differentiating it from the rest of the digestive tract.  For example, the mucosa of the large intestine has several goblet cells but does not have villi.  In addition, the longitudinal muscle layer is incomplete and is made of just three bands. These bands, which are called teniae coli, are present along the entire length of the colon.

When the teniae coli contract within the transverse colon or any other part of the colon, pressure is placed on the colon wall.  This causes pouches called haustra to appear along the colon. In addition, several pieces of connective tissue, which are filled with fat, are attached to the outside of the colon. These connective tissues are referred to as epiploic appendages.

No part of the large intestine produces digestive enzymes.  This job is left to the small intestine, where the digestive process is completed before it is moved on to the large intestine. In this stage, any food that is consumed is referred to as chyme.

Function of the Transverse Section

As with the rest of the colon, the job of the transverse section is to help absorb water and electrolytes from the chyme it has received from the small intestine.  In addition, it helps pass the feces through to the anus, where it can ultimately be removed from the body.  Since the transverse colon is encased in peritoneum, it is slightly mobile. The other two parts of the colon connected to the transverse (the ascending and descending colons) are not mobile.

Location of the Transverse Colon in the Body

The transverse colon is located in the abdomen along with the rest of the colon. More specifically, it runs across the body on the left hand side.  Here, the transverse connects the ascending colon, which rises along the right hand portion of the abdominal cavity, to the descending colon, which travels downward.

Due to its position within the digestive system, the transverse colon is near the liver where the colon changes direction, as well as in proximity to the spleen, where the colon changes direction yet again.  If that weren’t confusing enough, the transverse hangs from the stomach and it attached to it by a special tissue called the greater omentum. The transverse is also attached to the abdominal wall by a special type of mesentery called the transverse mesocolon.

Care & “Feeding” of the Colon

As with virtually the entire human body, the first and most important step you can take to care for the transverse colon is to follow a colon healthy diet including plenty of fiber and water.  Fiber, which is found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, cannot be assimilated by the human digestive system. Therefore, it remains in the colon and helps the stool collect water to add bulk and also soften it for passage through the intestine.

It is also advisable to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day.  This is particularly important when you increase your fiber intake because your digestive system will require more water to successfully remove the fiber from your body. If you do not boost your water intake when you increase your fiber intake, you can become more constipated due to the excess fibrous material.

Besides following a healthy diet, you should also get plenty of exercise. Regular movement of the body helps encourage regular movement of the bowels. An occasional colon cleansing is also recommended; taking an all-natural supplement to aid in the cleansing is the most popular method. An enema or high colonic can also be used to cleanse the colon occasionally, though an enema is not likely to reach the transverse colon because it only cleanses a portion of the rectum.  In addition, both methods can be somewhat uncomfortable. With an all-natural supplement, it is not necessary to insert anything inside your body. Instead, you simply take a pill or several pills for a period of time and let them go to work at cleansing your entire colon in a natural, safe manner. The transverse colon is part of a complex and important internal system and should be maintained just as you would pay attention to any outer portion of your body needing attention. Be good to your colon by following a diet and exercise plan wisely including plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, fiber, and whole grains, fresh clean drinking water, and stimulating physical activities to keep up both your mood and your digestive health. You will notice the change in your life if you take care of your entire body, not just the outside!

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