Overview

What Is The Function Of My Colon?

Food begins its journey through the body at the stomach. It then moves into the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. The colon — also known as the large intestine or large bowel — absorbs water from digested food. The waste left over from this process is moved by muscular contractions of the colon to the rectum. A bowel movement expels the solidified waste from the body.

What Happens If My Colon Doesn’t Function Properly?

When the colon does not function properly, it will send out signals. It’s vitally important that you pay attention to these signals as early diagnosis is a key to the best possible outcome. These are just a few of the symptoms you should not ignore.

    Consult your doctor if you experience the following:

  • abdominal pain – especially on the left side
  • nausea or vomiting
  • persistent diarrhea or constipation
  • rectal bleeding or bloody stools
  • weight loss or gain
  • fever

How Do I Know What’s Wrong With My Colon?

Your physician will examine you and perform specific tests to determine what, if any, colon disease is present. Colon disease is commonly discussed in three different groups with even more specific diagnoses arising from these groups. They include:

Inflammatory Bowel Disease which includes:

  • Crohn’s Disease, an inflammation of the tissues anywhere in the bowel that can go deep into the layers of affected tissues.
  • Ulcerative Colitis, also an inflammation of the bowel tissue, usually affecting the innermost lining of the colon.

Diverticular Disease, which includes:

  • Diverticulosis, a condition in which little pouches protrude from the colon. It is a common and benign condition usually requiring no treatment.
  • Diverticulitis, which occurs when the little pouches in the colon become inflamed causing painful symptoms.

Colon Polyps and Cancer which includes:

  • Colonic Polyps, small growths in the colon which may either be benign or signal the possibility of colon cancer.
  • Colon Cancer means that malignant (cancerous) cells have been found in polyps or the lining of the colon.

Click on any of the highlighted links above to get a detailed review of the diagnoses summarized here.