The large intestine plays a few important roles in the human body. It is one of the essential organs located in the lower digestive tract. It is connected to the upper intestine at its top location and also connected to the rectum at the bottom part.
The large intestine represents the end of the digestive tract. It connects with the small intestine at the cecum, ascends up and across the abdomen and then descends down to the rectum.
What is the function of large intestine, what is it, how does it work and what is its may responsibilities in the human body.
Parts of the Large Intestine & Their Functions
There are many parts of the large intestine that each help it to function properly. Here are the different parts of the large intestine along with a description of the tasks that they perform:
The cecum is one of the main parts of the large intestine that is the connecting component among the large and small intestine. It looks like a small little pouch that has a valve which directs and serves as a entryway for matter that travels between the two intestines. When fecal matter empties into the large intestine, the cecum expands and pushes its contents into the large intestine.
The colon is one of the other main parts of the large intestine which is the biggest component. It is what also is connected to the cecum and the large intestine. It is located on the right side of the abdomen down at the bottom of the large intestine.There are three parts of the colon the ascending, descending colon, and the sigmoid colon. All of them are located following the image provided at the right ——————–>
The appendix is a component of the colon that attaches itself to the cecum. There really has not been a vital life function discovered for the appendix, although it is known to produce additional antibodies that help protect the body.
The rectum is connected to the bottom of the large intestine. It is the bottom and final process of which fecal matter and waste is expelled out of the body. It serves as a storage facilitator for this matter- until it is ready to be passed through the anus in the form of stool.
What is the Function of Large Intestine
The large intestine has many functions that it performs. From extracting water from fecal debris processed by the small intestine to pushing and processing the contents to be expelled out of the body by the rectum (anus)- the large intestine performs the following jobs and has the following responsibilities for ridding the body of unnecessary toxins, substances, and wastes.
A major function of the large intestine is that it produces and generates the production of antibodies which are heavily responsible for helping the body to stay disease free and as healthy as possible. These antibodies help increase immunity and to keep your body free from toxic substances that can make you sick.
Another key function of the large intestine is that is helps breed healthy bacteria that benefit the intestine in digesting, breaking down, and utilizing certain vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body to function optimally. After processing waste the large intestine produces gases to expel the harmful or leftover substances, however the essential vitamins that the body needs are then sent back to the bloodstream in the body and are reabsorbed and utlized.
immunity and Acidity Reduction
The large intestine also plays a large role in helping the body stay well. It boosts immunity as aforementioned, but it also helps to balance out the PH of alkalinity and acidity in the body. It actually reduces acidity by its mucus coated lining. This mucus also assists the intestine in disabling harmful bacteria from getting absorbed by the body.
After you consume any food, the small intestine helps to digest it and then it is pushed into the large intestine. By the time it reaches the large intestine- the digestive process is 3/4 almost finished. The large intestines primary function is to prepare the waste to be expelled out of the body by extracting & absorbing the water from it. The water is expelled and then absorbed by the body, stool in its final form is then passed into the rectum.
Large Intestine: Problems and Dysfunction
There are several common problems and a few serious conditions that can occur in the large intestine:
Bloating & Gas
The large intestine produces gas to expel bad bacteria, aid in good bacteria, to absorb essential nutrients and to get rid of toxins that can harm the body. The build-up of gases in the intestine is quite normal, however sometimes too much gas can accumulate and cause gas bubble, cramps, bloating and pain. This gaseous substance can often smell horrible or rancid because it is a combination of gases such as hydrogen sulfide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Intestinal flu, eating certain foods in your diet, and also other underlying conditions with the digestive organs can cause chronic gas and bloating.
Constipation is a condition that impacts the large intestine. It is where stool is hard and difficult to pass. This can be caused by slow movement of the intestines, poor diet, dehydration, medication side-effect, or other problems that may be present in the digestive system (IBS, polyps, stress, more). Constipation is mainly brought on by an excess of water being withdrawn from it during the process of absorption of the body. The result is hard, dry, dark stool. Usually for chronic constipation the doctor will recommend that you drink more fluids, eat more fiber, and in some cases he/she may require you to take a stool softener.
On the opposite end of hard stool (no pun intended.) There is diarrhea which is a condition where the stool is loose, watery, and passes quickly through the large intestine. Diarrhea can be brought on or caused by sickness, bacteria (flu, virus, infection) and other digestive tract problems.
Other More Serious Problems & Conditions
The function of the large intestine is very important and essential for the body to thrive. Although the aforementioned conditions and problems with the large intestine are not very serious, there are some serious health conditions that can be life-threatening & lead to more severe problems including:
Cancer of the large intestine or colorectal cancer is one of the most prominent cancers that is diagnosed in America. Symptoms that accompany this type of cancer include: drastic or sudden changes in bowel habits, abdominal pain, gas, bloating, weight loss, upset stomach, stomach cramps, and passing bloody stools. This type of colon cancer can be accurately diagnosed when a colonoscopy is performed and biopsies are taken. When caught early this type of cancer can be treated and cured, but in worst case scenarios- this cancer can also lead to death when not discovered timely enough.
When the lining in your colon gets inflamed or irritated it can cause a condition referred to as ulcerative colitis, This condition brings on symptoms such as pain, chronic diarrhea, nausea, and weight loss with no explanation. Ulcerative colitis is usually treated with medication or even by surgical means when serious.
When the large intestinal wall gets weaker or starts to deteriorate the membrane contained within will pooch or pouch. Because of the extra pouches matter, bad bacteria, and other factors can cause the large intestine to get infected. Diverticulitis is very painful and can also be deadly when not properly treated. Treatment includes a course of antibiotics, change in diet habits, or surgery.