Large intestine: structure and functions

The human intestines are usually divided into thick and thin. Each department has its own anatomical features and its own functions. The large intestine is the final, lower part of the intestine. It got its name for its thicker walls and wider clearance. It consists of several parts, each of which has structural features and plays a role.

Features, role and functions of the large intestine

The final part of the intestine is the colon.

The large intestine completes the intestine and ends with the anus. Its length in an adult is approximately 2 m. The large intestine, the anatomy of which has its own characteristics, performs important functions in the body:

  • Excretory. The main, but not the only function of the intestine is to remove toxins and substances from the body that are not needed or harmful to health. This process must be uninterrupted, otherwise poisoning of the body may occur. A feature of the large intestine is the slow movement of food. The process goes faster after the next meal: food enters the stomach and a signal is sent to the muscles of the intestine.
  • Digestive In the large intestine, the process of splitting food, decomposing it into its components, continues. The remnants of food, from which all the nutrients have already been absorbed into the intestines, are rammed into feces and excreted from the body.
  • Protective. As you know, it is in the intestine that is the very useful microflora with bacteria that support the immune system. Violation of microflora leads to a weakening of the protective function of the body and a decrease in its resistance to viruses and pathogenic bacteria.
  • Suction. The intestinal walls are capable of absorbing water, fatty acids, amino acids, and salts from digested food.

The large intestine is shorter, but also wider than the small one. Its length is only 1.5-2 m, while the small part of the intestine exceeds this size by more than double. The large intestine is about 8 cm in diameter. The diameter narrows closer to the anus. The large intestine has a grayer shade; it is more heterogeneous than the small one. Its uneven muscle layer creates bulges on it, it seems that it consists of cells, swellings with constrictions.

The colon also has such a feature as muscle tapes and omental processes. Throughout its length, thin muscle strips stretch that help peristalsis. On this tape are accumulations of fat, the so-called omental processes, which protect the intestinal wall from damage. Maintaining the health of the colon is especially appreciated by yogis, since there are about 500 species of microorganisms, which significantly exceeds their content in the small intestine.


The sigmoid colon is very important in terms of absorption function.

The large intestine occupies a lot of space in the retroperitoneal space. It consists of several departments. They differ in length, width, functions, location:

  1. Cecum. In appearance, it looks like a bag with a small process. This part is divided into the cecum itself and the well-known appendix. The cecum is small in size, its diameter rarely exceeds 10 cm. It is difficult to say exactly what role this part of the intestine plays in the digestion process. In ancient times, it was very important for the digestion and assimilation of plant foods, but then this function atrophied. The appendix is ​​associated with immunity, but when it is removed, intestinal functions are not impaired. Between the intestine and the appendix there is a sphincter that acts as a barrier. Thanks to him, food does not fall into the process.
  2. Colon. This part of the intestine is the largest part of the colon, therefore, it is easily detected by palpation. It is customary to divide it into 3 parts, and the whole as a whole, it resembles a horseshoe or a semicircle. It begins with the ascending (goes immediately after the cecum), then the transverse and descending. Moisture, electrolytes are absorbed in this section, feces become harder due to its dehydration and move on.
  3. Sigmoid colon. It is located on the left side of the abdomen. Its name comes from the Latin letter S (sigma). It is very important in terms of absorption function: most of the entire liquid from food is absorbed here, and only then the absorbed moisture spreads throughout the body. Here, the formation of feces continues and their movement further down the intestine. Feces may linger in the bends of this section, causing inflammation.
  4. Rectum. This section is final for the entire intestine. This is a very short section, the length of which rarely exceeds 15 cm. The inner layer has many mucous cells, whose work is activated in various disorders, hence the mucus in the feces. Despite the name, the gut is not straight at all; it has bends. Here, the process of splitting food comes to an end. Everything that could be absorbed from food has already been absorbed, feces are formed and excreted from the body.

Colon diseases

Crohn's disease includes inflammation of all the organs of the gastrointestinal tract.

All diseases of the large intestine can be combined according to symptoms. Usually these are stool disorders, diarrhea and constipation, which alternate, pains on the side of the abdomen, which pass after defecation for a while, increased gas formation. However, with diseases of this part of the intestine, there is no sharp weight loss and hypovitaminosis. Common diseases:

  • Crohn's disease. Under this name is a number of disorders and diseases. Crohn's disease is characterized by inflammation of not only the colon, but also of all the digestive tract as a whole, even the stomach and esophagus. The lesion is heterogeneous, healthy tissues are interspersed with inflamed. Symptoms may vary depending on the location of the inflammation. Often the disease is complicated by the formation of fistulas, ulcers, intestinal obstruction.
  • Colitis (ulcerative, ischemic). Ulcerative colitis usually affects the rectum, but it can be other parts of the colon. The causes of ulceration are still not fully understood. It is known that heredity plays an important role. Colitis is often accompanied by bleeding and stool disorders. Ischemic colitis is caused by a narrowing of the vessels of the intestine. Blood supply to the intestine is difficult, which causes many problems.
  • Colon cancer Colon malignant tumors are more common than benign. Colon cancer ranks first in the frequency of occurrence among oncological diseases. Polyps, fistulas, and ulcerative colitis if untreated are prerequisites for cancer.
  • Irritable colon syndrome. This disease is also called dyskinesia. Under the influence of various factors, intestinal motility and the release of hormonal substances in it are disturbed. The disease manifests itself in the form of constipation and pain in the abdomen.
  • Megacolon. So called the expansion of individual sections of the colon. The disease is accompanied by severe constipation, despite a diet and sufficient fluid intake, abdominal pain, flatulence. In this case, the gases accumulate and poorly discharge, as a result of which the patient complains of severe bloating, bulging of the abdominal wall, heaviness.

If the disease is complicated and difficult, the only treatment is surgery.

Features of the children's large intestine

The intestines in children look different than in adults.

In a newborn child, the entire intestine looks different than in an adult, because by the time it is born, it is not yet fully formed and not populated with beneficial bacteria. It is sterile and begins to be colonized by bacteria during life and lactation.

In addition, the large intestine of the infant, unlike an adult, does not have characteristic convex places, as well as omental formations. It is quite smooth, homogeneous. Bulges form already at a later age, by 2 years.

The functions of the large intestine in a child do not differ from an adult. It performs a protective function, and excretory, and digestive. However, the length of the colon is much shorter, it is about 60 cm and gradually increases (by 1 year by 20 cm, and then grows with the child and often corresponds to growth). The colon acquires its final and completed appearance by 4 years.

Different sections of the intestine in an infant are formed differently. The appendix after birth is very small in size, only 4 cm. And by the year it grows by 3 cm. At first, its position is constantly changing, since it is quite mobile and not sufficiently separated from the cecum. The cecum itself in a newborn child is located high in the abdominal cavity, above the liver, but eventually takes its usual position.

The colon also grows with the baby. Its ascending part after birth is the shortest and can be only 2 cm. It begins to grow only a year, and before that it retains such a small size. The sigmoid colon of the child is slightly higher than in adults, which is associated with limited space in the small pelvis of the baby. It rises into the abdominal cavity, but with the growth of the child falls and by the age of five takes its permanent position.

As you know, the large intestine inside is covered with an epithelium, which includes various cells. In young children, this layer of epithelium is smoother, and the crypts (small tube-shaped depressions) are deeper, and there are more of them in quantity. The rectum of a small child is more consistent with its name, since it initially has no bends. Due to its underdevelopment, young children are much more likely to experience prolapse of the rectum.

In detail about digestive upset in children in the following video:

general description

The colon got its name for the thickness of the walls, which are larger than other parts of the intestine. The large intestine ends the digestive system. The remnants of food enter it, and subsequently emptying occurs. Its length is from 1 to 2 meters, the diameter starting from the cecum (7 - 8 cm) gradually decreases reaching the main section (4 cm). Outwardly, the large intestine differs from the small one, has several characteristic differences:

  • longitudinal muscle tapes,
  • distinctive bulges
  • branches of the connective membrane (serous membrane) that contain fatty deposits.
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Intestinal structure

The intestine begins in the iliac fossa on the right, it is there that the small intestine flows into it at an angle of 90 degrees. It is divided into 6 departments located in the following sequence:

  • blind,
  • ascending colon
  • transverse,
  • descending colonic
  • sigmoid,
  • straight.

The organ is located in the pelvic area. The first five sections are located on the right side, on top and on the left side they border the peritoneum, externally forming a frame (rim). All together are called the colon. The transition of contents in them is controlled by valves. To the left of the middle (anterior surface of the sacral bone) is the last sixth compartment. First, it is located to the left, then in a straight line it goes to the middle, called the rectum.

The blood supply to the colon is provided by the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries.

The structure of the wall of the colon also has a significant difference. The mucous, submucous, muscle and serous layers are a diagram of the components of the wall. There are no villi on the mucosa, but folds are formed. Crypts are very deep. The longitudinal muscle layer is not continuous, it is divided into 3 tapes.

Adult Length

The length of the large intestine in an adult is about 1.6 m, the circumference is 6.5 cm, the wall thickness is 2–3 mm (with a reduction of 4–5 mm). The duration of the initial section is 6-8 cm, the circumference is 7 cm. The duration of the rectum is 15 cm, the circumference is from 2.5 to 7.5 cm. The bottom passes into the anus, which closes the rectal valve.

The colon in newborns is slightly different in structure than in adults. Back to the table of contents

Features of the children's organ

The structure of the large intestine in children is different, changes in the anatomical structure occur. The colon of the child is short, up to 63 cm. There are no colon parts and fat branches. Colonic cavities are formed by six months of age, and branches by 2 years. In infancy, the length of the colon is about 83 cm, and by the age of 10 it is 118 cm.

Colon location

The large intestine originates from the ileocecal valve, which protects the small intestine from bacterial reflux. The adjacent cecum, located on the lower right of the abdomen, is a blind sac. Attached to it is an appendage, also known as a vermicular process. As a rule, it is located retrocecal, therefore, behind the cecum. The location of the appendage is variable. The ascending part of the large intestine is connected with the cecum and passes up to the chest.

Anatomy: Parts of the Large Intestine

At about the level of the 9th rib, the curvature of the colon strongly bends inward to the left, forming a hepatic bend. The transverse part passes like a garland above the loop of the small intestine, and ends with a splenic bend in the left half of the body. From this moment, the descending part leads towards the left anterior iliac spine. An S-shaped bend with the rectum forms the distal end of the colon.


The length of the large intestine is about 1.5 m and the diameter is 5-8 cm. It passes around the small intestine in the form of a skeleton.

Important macroscopic features of the walls of the large intestine are the haustra or group of sacs. If they are located in the inner wall of the intestine, they are called plicae semilunares coli.

The appearance of the large intestine

Segments of the colon:

  1. Cecum (cecum) with an appendage.
  2. Back intestines.
  3. Large intestine: ascending, colon, descending, sigmoid.
  4. Rectum.

Human colon

The colon relative to the abdominal cavity

In general, it can be noted that parts of the colon alternate between intra- and retroperitoneal sites. Therefore, the cecum with the appendage is intraperitoneal. The appendix's blood vessels pass through the mesoappendix leading to the cecum and ileum.

The structure and location of the appendix

The ascending and descending colon is secondarily retroperitoneal. In turn, colonic and sigmoid - intraperitoneal. The gastrointestinal ligament connects the greater curvature of the stomach with the colon. Behind her is an stuffing bag.

Colon relative to adjacent organs

  1. The ascending intestine spreads from the right lower abdomen to the chest. The small intestine is usually located on the left side.
  2. In the right bend, the colon borders the liver and partially touches the right kidney.
  3. The colon is in contact with the liver and gall bladder.
  4. The left bend of the colon is slightly higher than the right, approximately at the level of the tenth rib. It borders the spleen and touches the left kidney.
  5. The small intestine is located on the right descending.

Abdominal organs

The vascular system of the colon

The colon is covered with branches of the superior mesenteric artery (ileal, middle and right colon).Arterial blood supply changes in the left bend of the colon. A change in innervation and blood supply occurs at the so-called Cannon point. The remaining parts of the intestine are supplied with the left colon and upper unpaired rectal artery, as well as 2-3 branches of sigmoid arteries.

The vascular system of the colon

Colon nervous system

The movement of the colon was made possible by its plexuses in the intestinal wall. Sympathetic fibers reduce intestinal mobility. Parasympathetic - increase. They come from the vagus nerve and are sent to the left bend of the colon. At this point, the parasympathetic nerve is innervated from the pelvic internal nerves. This area is called the Cannon point, just like in terms of blood supply.

The differences between the large and small intestines

Macroscopically, the large intestine can be distinguished from the small intestine by circular protrusions of the colon wall, flat muscle thickenings and omental processes. At the microscopic level, the wall of the colon also has characteristics that differ from the small intestine. There are no villi in the colon, but there are crypts (0.4-0.6 mm long) with a large number of goblet cells.

Small and large intestine

Single lymphoid nodules are sometimes found on the wall. In most cases, digestion occurs in the small intestine, where a lot of nutrients are absorbed. On the contrary, the colon is mainly the place where water is extracted. Goblet cells secrete mucus, which serves as a lubricant for the produced stool.

Colon function

It is interesting! The appendix is ​​rich in lymphatic tissue and is an important component of the immune system.

Feces pass through the intestines for 12-48 hours with slow peristaltic movements and segmentation. Water is absorbed, and the stool thereby thickens. Every day, from 0.5 to 2 liters of fluid is absorbed in the colon. When water is absorbed with a capacity of 5 to 6 liters, it is possible to compensate for its lack in the small intestine.

Large intestine - functions

Goblet cells located in deep crypts secrete mucins. The resulting mucus facilitates the passage of stool through the intestines. Epithelial cells line the crypts with secretions and reabsorb electrolytes. The Epithelial Sodium Channel (ENaC) regulates sodium reabsorption from stool. This process is controlled by the steroid hormone aldosterone. Potassium is released, which in case of deficiency can be reabsorbed.

The acidic pH in the colon has indicators of 5.5-6.8, as a result of which it increases in the direction of segments distant from the center.

In the rectum, stool is stored in such a way that excretion occurs only after its accumulation in large quantities. Otherwise, the elimination process would be continuous.

Colon function

Intestinal flora

Another feature of the colon is the variety of colonizing bacteria. About 100 trillion mainly anaerobic organisms contribute to the absorption of certain food components. In addition, they produce substances necessary for humans, such as vitamin K.

Attention! Sensitive intestinal flora may be impaired as a result of repeated antibiotic therapy. This, in turn, provokes diarrhea.

The role of intestinal microflora


About 10% of the population suffers from appendicitis. As a rule, inflammation causes obstruction of the cavity due to calcified feces, tumors, or foreign bodies.

Acute appendicitis can occur within a few hours. Initially, pain occurs in the umbilical region, and then in the right lower abdomen. In addition, nausea, vomiting, and fever appear.

McBurney Point

The point on the right side of the abdomen is one third of the line connecting the superior anterior anterior iliac spine with the umbilical cord. Pressure applied to this area can cause pain in patients with appendicitis.

A potential complication of advanced appendicitis is perforation of the peritoneal cavity and, subsequently, peritonitis, which can be life-threatening. In general, the only treatment is appendectomy or appendectomy.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome is a group of intestinal diseases, often not of organic origin. The etiology of the disorder is usually incomprehensible. Symptoms are, inter alia, digestive problems, accompanied by pain, diarrhea, or constipation. Gluten sensitivity and psychological factors are also associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Colonic diverticulosis

Intestinal diverticulosis is a furry bulge in the wall or even the intestinal mucosa. This is a kind of disease of civilization. Due to a diet low in fiber, bowel movement is slower. The colon should contract more severely and, therefore, increase pressure.

Typically, these protrusions occur in the sigmoid colon. Diverticulosis rarely occurs before age 30, and then the likelihood of its occurrence increases by 6-8% per year. The problem is difficult to detect due to the absence of symptoms. Possible complications are, in particular, diverticulitis, bleeding, perforation, fistula and stenosis.

Intestinal inflammation

Inflammation in the colon is called colitis. There are acute inflammatory and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.

Acute inflammation is also called enteritis. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease that occurs quite often. It involves inflammation of the intestinal tract, lasting for decades. The area of ​​action of ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon and rectum.

Polyps in the colon

Intestinal polyps

A polyp is the accumulation of tissue, both wide and flat, branched or polypoid. Usually they are less than 1 cm and do not cause any symptoms. However, constipation, pain, or blood in the stool is sometimes observed. Especially large polyps can become malignant tumors and, thus, lead to colorectal carcinoma (adenocarcinoma).

Bowel cancer

A malignant tumor of the colon is called carcinoma. In most cases, it arises from the still existing benign polyps of the sequence of carcinoma adenoma. Bowel cancer is most often found in the age group of 60 to 70 years.

Risk factors are adulthood, intestinal polyposis, genetic predisposition, and ulcerative colitis. Diet plays a particularly important role. A diet rich in fats increases the risk of cancer, while foods high in fiber reduce it. Therefore, bowel cancer is more common in industrialized countries.

Bowel cancer stages

Symptoms, such as occult bleeding, usually develop late. The prognosis usually depends on the stage of the cancer after detection. It is determined by the international classification of stages of malignant neoplasms (TNM). Lymphogenic metastases occur early, infecting the regional lymph nodes. Hematogenous colon carcinoma metastasizes primarily in the liver, lungs and skeleton.

Main departments

The anatomy of the intestine in humans is manifested in integrity, but there are many differences in the structure of individual sections. The departments of the colon and the topography of the colon require detailed consideration:

At the point of transition of one site to another, sphincters of the colon are located.

  • Blind The border of the small and large intestine is the beginning of the final section of the digestive tract. Its shape resembles a pouch. It occupies a place in the iliac recess, above the pupartic (inguinal) ligament. It borders on the back with a thin wall of the peritoneum, and on the bottom and left with the ileum. On the final segment there is a branch - the appendix, which is protected from the intestine by the sphincter.
  • Colon. A large segment, including sections of the colon: ascending, transverse and descending. Behind the ascending segment adjoins the muscle capsule of the lower back and right kidney. The right hepatic angle borders on the costal cartilage and merges with the liver and gall bladder. The navel level borders on the next part. The transverse segment divides the peritoneum in half: the upper half borders the stomach, spleen and liver, and makes the splenic angle of the colon, the lower intestine occupies the lower borders. The lower segment is located near the muscle membrane of the lower back and abdomen, in front it borders with loops of the small intestine.
  • Sigmoid. The longest part. The bend on the left causes a curved shape, so feces sometimes accumulate in it.
  • Straight. The last, distal part of the colon and enclosing the entire intestine. Inside it is lined with mucous epithelium. The last two sections form the rectosigmoid section of the intestine.
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Colon cleansing

Colon Cleansing Units from the entire multimillion-dollar mass of people are truly aware of the role of the large intestine in maintaining good, stable health. The sages of antiquity, yoga, Tibetan and Egyptian healers long ago knew the truth that fat

Colon Recovery

Improvement of the large intestine Improvement of the large intestine, begin with the preparation of the abdomen - forcing it through. From the navel with four outstretched fingers of the right hand, push the stomach to the greatest depth with vibrating movements. First go around the navel clockwise

More about the large intestine

To understand all the functions of the large intestine, it is necessary to imagine the anatomy of the organ and have at least a general idea about the process of digesting food in the intestine.

The length of this section of the digestive tract is about 1-2 m. The diameter of the widest places is 8 cm, the length of the narrow sections is about 4 cm. The color is grayish.

Anatomy of the large intestine and its structure:

  • cecum with appendix. The diameter of an adult is about 8 cm. The functionality of these departments is not fully defined. It’s believed that they used to help digest large amounts of plant foods,
  • colon. Consists of: ascending, transverse, descending, sigmoid. Length about 1.5 m. Outwardly resembles a circle. Overcooked food is up to a day,
  • rectum. The final department, which has a separate structure.

Along the intestine are 3 ribbons of muscles on which there are small fat processes. The muscular corset looks like a tubercle. The length of the tapes is much shorter than the gut.

For this reason, their bloating is formed. The structure of the layers: mucous, submucous, muscle, serous (sometimes absent in certain fragments). The walls of the intestine are about 2 mm thick.

Many microorganisms live in the large intestine and help its work. More than 500 species of bacteria are involved in the work of the body. Microbes help the synthesis of vitamins and nutrients.

In violation of the quantity or quality of bacteria, problems may occur in the digestive tract. An unpleasant pathology - dysbiosis - develops if the number of putrefactive bacteria grows.

Every day, the human colon is filled with 1.5 - 2.5 kg of partially digested food. Here beneficial substances are absorbed: water, sugars, vitamins and acids.

Through feces, the body leaves 200 - 300 g, the rest is absorbed and redistributed. For complete digestion of food, all sections of the intestine are important.

Functions of the colon:

  1. digestive Processing not fully digested substances,
  2. suction. Useful substances are absorbed in the colon
  3. protective. The intestinal walls are protected from digestive enzymes,
  4. muscle Promotion of food through the intestines,
  5. the removal of harmful and useless substances from the body through the sphincter.

The content of the human intestine moves on average over 12 hours by 2 m. About 10 hours elapses between the ingress of food debris into the colon and its withdrawal.

A defecation delay of 36 hours is considered a violation - constipation. Its symptoms: gas, breath, abdominal cramps, mental disorders, forced bowel movement.

An unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle lead to stagnation of feces, forming stones, toxins are released, which, getting into the blood, poison the body - all this ultimately leads to the development of gastrointestinal tract disease and the subsequent long and costly treatment.

Remember that quality life of the large intestine is important for a full life, and any diseases of the organ have serious consequences.

General Information About Colon Problems

Pathologies of the large intestine in the early stages are almost asymptomatic for humans, manifesting themselves when the disease is gaining momentum.

Symptoms felt in the large intestine, in which you need to seek help:

  • various pains in the peritoneum, sides or sections of the sphincter,
  • bloating, gas, more often after dinner,
  • violation of the stool.

Urgent treatment is necessary when blood or mucus appears in the feces, as this is always a symptom of a serious gastrointestinal disease. With intestinal diseases, the whole organ or its parts become inflamed.

Disorders in the large intestine of an adult:

  • motor failures
  • neoplasms
  • inflammatory processes
  • lack of digestion or absorption of nutrients.

Weakened or too intense peristalsis is caused by malfunctions in motility. With increased peristalsis, the stool moves quickly, the water does not have time to absorb.

Weakened motility leads to constipation due to the fact that water is absorbed in large quantities.

Inflammation of the intestine without proper treatment eventually becomes chronic, sometimes with pus, causing their complications, destruction of the mucosa, leading to the formation of ulcers. All these signs slow down the intestines.

Different bowel diseases have different catalysts, respectively, their treatment methods will also be different.

The most common diseases of the human colon:

  • Crohn's disease,
  • diverticular disease
  • hemorrhoids,
  • ulcerative colitis,
  • neoplasms (benign or malignant),
  • infectious diseases,
  • constipation
  • dysbiosis.

The signs and general characteristics of the most common diseases of the large intestine are given in the next paragraph of the article.

Colon pathology

Crohn's disease - inflammation in the intestine, spreads to the entire gastrointestinal tract. The causes of this disease are not fully understood.

As a rule, the disease develops with low immunity. The most characteristic symptoms are ulcers around the sphincter, fever, rash, joint pain.

Symptoms resemble appendicitis with vomiting and general weakness. It is difficult to diagnose this pathology at the initial stage.

Diverticular disease - protrusion of tubercles due to increased pressure in the intestines. The disease is accompanied by constipation, often caused by a lack of fiber.

At the beginning, the symptoms of the disease are mild. Progressing, their inflammation begins, then the following signs are added: fever, blood clots in the feces.

At an early stage, the disease is treated with diet and increased fiber intake.

If inflammation of the diverticulum has already begun, then an antibacterial treatment of the disease is necessary. In advanced stages, the disease has to be treated only operably.

Hemorrhoidal inflammation is accompanied by bleeding, pain, burning, painful bowel movements. When they fall out, it becomes painful to sit and walk.

The condition worsens when lifting weights, strong attempts.The disease is common, develops from malnutrition, with sedentary work, constipation. It has a chronic character with exacerbations.

In the initial stages, medical treatment, in compliance with a diet that excludes spicy and spicy. In the later stages, removal of nodes may be required.

Common methods for their treatment: sclerotherapy, a laser with infrared light, clamping nodes with rings.

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation in the intestines. A chronic disease that can be "driven" into the stage of remission.

The causes of the disease are not fully understood, people of different ages and social status suffer from it.

There are 3 stages of the disease:

  • acute, at the onset of the disease,
  • chronic when the disease recurs,
  • continuous when there is no improvement for a long time.

Symptoms are similar to other diseases of the large intestine. In the advanced stages, a person begins bleeding, fever, intestinal tears.

Without additional research, it is difficult to diagnose. Ulcerative colitis in a person requires emergency medical attention.

Treatment is accompanied by the use of corticosteroids and immunomodulators, often requiring surgical intervention, diet is mandatory.

About 20% of cancers occur in the large intestine. Symptoms of a malignant tumor do not appear for a long time.

Lack of appetite, pain and blood are signs that you need to urgently see a doctor. The doctor will prescribe tests and hardware diagnostic procedures (CT, MRI, ultrasound) to determine the location of the tumor, its size, etc.

Oncology treatment requires surgical intervention, i.e., removal of neoplasms and metastases is carried out, chemotherapy is also popular. If you start treatment in a timely manner, then colon cancer is well treatable.

Infectious diseases of the gastrointestinal tract occur as a complication after dysentery and other diseases of the digestive system.

In acute form, they are easy to treat. Symptoms should be alert: bloating, mucus in the stool, diarrhea. Effectively helps antibiotic therapy, a strict diet.

Treatment of diseases of the human large intestine boils down not only to the removal of an acute condition, but also to the prevention of the transition of the disease into a chronic form.

Features of diseases and prevention

Intestinal pathologies are often found in children, even newborns. It is important to ensure that the child has meconium.

If the baby does not have a chair, but there is bloating or vomiting, then you need to urgently contact a medical institution.

Perhaps the wrong structure of the digestive tract or the intestines are not completely formed.

Doctors do not recommend enemas or laxatives for small children without prior consultation.

Often in children, especially infants, dysbiosis is observed. Signs of pathology:

  • diarrhea, greenish stools,
  • smell of acetone
  • weight gain, poor appetite,
  • bloating
  • pain
  • rash.

An accurate diagnosis is made after passing tests, bakseva. Confirming dysbiosis, drugs are prescribed that normalize the intestinal microflora, and drugs that relieve signs of intoxication.

In addition to the listed diseases of the large intestine, there are a number of pathologies to which only women are exposed. Endometriosis is a disease associated with hormonal disruptions.

The growth of the endometrium begins after damage to the ovaries. Symptoms appear:

  • painful menstruation and bowel movements,
  • blood in the stool
  • weakness.

Diagnosis of the disease requires examination by a gynecologist, pelvic ultrasound, intestinal tissue analysis. For treatment, you need to restore the hormonal background. If treatment fails, then surgical intervention is necessary.

In men, prostatitis is often found, which provokes painful intestinal cramps, often at night.

The disease is provoked by stress, malnutrition, and is a frequent complication of other diseases.

Treatment includes sedatives, stress-free, normalization of nutrition, physiotherapy.

A number of diseases of the large intestine can be saved with the help of their prevention. Remember that curing a disease is much harder and more complicated than preventing it.

In order for an ailment of the gastrointestinal tract not to take a person by surprise, it is necessary to strictly adhere to the principles of hygiene: wash yourself 2 times a day, without soap, prevent constipation, at least once a day there must be a bowel movement.

The most general recommendations for the prevention of colon diseases:

  • to avoid constipation will help proper nutrition, the use of fiber and bran,
  • do not abuse salt and spices, alcohol,
  • taking antibiotics is permissible only after the appointment of a doctor and must be accompanied by prebiotics to maintain a healthy intestinal microflora,
  • you need to observe the daily routine
  • fractional nutrition at one time is recommended,
  • drink at least 2 liters of water per day,
  • eliminate stress and overwork,
  • sleep at least 8 hours, stay up late,
  • charging while sitting is required. Walk more.

In addition, preventive examination by specialists is required at least once a year. This is especially important, since in the early stages of the disease appear slightly.

If the pathology is caught "in the bud", then for treatment it is enough to adjust the diet and begin to lead a more active lifestyle.

If symptoms of a large bowel disease appear, it is important to consult a doctor immediately, be examined in time and begin treatment.

Large intestine: structure and functions, enzymes of the colon

The large intestine (intestinum crassum) is a continuation of the small intestine, acts as the lower part of the digestive tract. In the large intestine, the final stage of digestion occurs.

Organ structure

The initial section of the intestine is localized in the right iliac region (ileo-caecal valve), 4-5 cm higher than the middle of the inguinal ligament, located in the abdominal region and pelvic cavity. On the left and bottom, the colon borders with loops of the ileum, in front - with loops of the small intestine.

The length of the colon is 1.5 meters, the circumference is 4-8 cm, which tapers at the entrance to the rectum, the wall thickness of 2-3 mm (in the straight reaches 8 mm). The inner surface of the intestine is smooth, the wall consists of a serous, muscle layer, a mucous membrane that does not have villi, is covered with a cylindrical epithelium.

Large intestine departments:

  • The cecum with the appendix (appendix),
  • Colonic, which consists of the following parts: sigmoid, ascending, transverse, descending,
  • Rectum.

All sections of the large intestine are separated from each other by valves that provide the movement of the food lump in only one direction.

Blood supply to the large intestine occurs with the help of the upper and lower mesenteric artery, rectal veins. The innervation (supply of the organ with nerve endings) of the intestine is carried out by means of the upper and lower mesenteric department and branches of the celiac plexus.

Lymphatic drainage occurs in the lymph nodes, which are located along the vessels: in the sigmoid, colonic (left, middle and right), upper rectal, post-intestinal, appendicular, pre-intestinal, lower and upper mesenteric.

The role of microflora

400–500 species of microorganisms live in the large intestine (30–40 billion bacteria are present in 1 gram of feces); under normal functioning, they destroy conditionally pathogenic microflora (“bad” bacteria).

The vital products of “beneficial” bacteria stimulate the immune system, protect the body from the formation of diseases (including cancer), regulate the effects of the autonomic nervous system, inhibit the growth and development of harmful bacteria. In order for the microflora to fulfill its functions to the full, in the intestinal tract there must be a slightly acidic environment and dietary fiber.

For the most part, all incoming food is digested in the small intestine; in the large intestine, fiber and pectin are processed. Hydrolysis (processing) occurs due to colon juice, microorganisms and chyme enzymes (liquid or semi-liquid contents, consists of partially digested food, gastric and intestinal juices).

Outside of irritation, juice is excreted in a small amount, with local exposure, its production increases by 8–10 times. It consists of a liquid and dense (rejected intestinal epithelial cells and mucous lumps) component, has an alkaline reaction. Juice mainly contains the following enzymes:

  • Nuclease (cleaves nucleic acids)
  • Amylase (breaks down starch)
  • Cathepsin (dissolves protein)
  • Lipase (breaks down, fats)
  • Peptidase (breaks down protein fractions).

The intestines intensively absorb water (up to 4–6 liters per day), the chyme gradually turns into feces, and 150–250 g are formed per day. feces.

Colon function

The most important functions of the large intestine are:

  • Digestive - processing of the food lump by enzymes. Enzymes release water and nutrients from food (reabsorption process),
  • Muscular - enhances (peristalsis increases with the arrival of a new portion of food) or decreases (at rest) the frequency of muscle contractions to promote food masses,
  • Reservoir - the accumulation and retention of feces, gases,
  • Suction - useful and nutrients are absorbed in the ascending, blind and descending parts of the colon, from where they are carried to all organs through the lymphatic and blood channels,
  • Protective - the mucous membrane protects the body from destruction by digestive enzymes,
  • The colon removes toxic substances from the body,
  • Evacuation - excretion of feces.

Colon Diseases:

  • Ulcerative colitis,
  • Crohn's disease,
  • Diverticulum of the intestine.

Other bowel diseases and their treatment can be found here.

The colon where it is located and how it hurts - detailed information

The human gastrointestinal tract, part of which is represented by the colon, is distinguished by a variety of departments and the features of their functioning.

At the same time, it is the digestive system, due to regular contact with various stimuli, that is most susceptible to the development of various pathologies. However, it is rather difficult to establish what exactly caused the malaise.

To identify dysfunction in each section of the intestine, a specific research technique is used. This significantly reduces the effectiveness of the diagnosis of digestive disorders.

Often, patients also do not pay attention to discomfort in the abdominal cavity, which leads to the late detection of intestinal diseases. To avoid the development of complications, you should seek medical help when the first symptoms of pathology appear.

The colon where it is and how it hurts

Intestinal physiology

The large intestine is a large hollow organ of the digestive tract. It performs many important functions, while constantly in contact with food masses.

As a result, the colon is constantly exposed to various harmful factors that can cause deterioration of its functioning.

Diseases of this department of the digestive system, according to medical statistics, are by far the most common.

The large intestine is the last section of the gastrointestinal tract. The length of this section is from 1.1 to 2-2.7 meters, and the diameter reaches 5-6 cm. It is much wider than the small intestine, about 2.5 times. The lumen of the large intestine narrows closer to the exit from the rectum, which ends with a sphincter, which allows for normal random defecation.

The structure of the colon

Features of the structure of the walls of the colon

The walls of the colon consist of four layers:

All these sections of the intestinal wall ensure the normal functioning of the organ and its peristalsis. Normally, a large enough amount of mucus is produced in the colon, which promotes the advancement of the chyme along the digestive tract.

The structure of the wall of the colon

Bowel function

The large intestine completes the movement of the chyme along the digestive tract. It communicates with the external environment, which determines the specificity of its functions:

    Excretory. The main function of the large intestine. It is aimed at removing various pathogens and unprocessed substances from the body.

This process should occur regularly and not have glitches, otherwise, due to the abundance of toxins in the digestive tract, poisoning of the body develops. It is in the large intestine that stool is finally formed, which is then excreted from the rectum. Excretory function is stimulated by the next meal.

After eating food by a person, his brain receives a signal that enhances intestinal motility and accelerates the movement of the chyme towards the anus.


    Most of the nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine, however, some of the components of the chyme enter the body from the colon: salts, amino acids, fatty acids, monosaccharides, etc. Protective.

    In the large intestine contains about three kilograms of beneficial microflora, which not only ensures normal digestion, but also contributes to the functioning of the immune system. Violation of the bacterial balance leads to a decrease in the protective function of the body, increased susceptibility to infectious diseases, etc.

  1. Suction. It is in this section of the digestive system that the main part of the liquid is removed from the feces - more than 50%, which prevents the dehydration of the body. Due to this, feces acquire a characteristic consistency and shape.

Colon function

The large intestine has common functions, while each of its departments also performs its own tasks, due to physiological characteristics.


The large intestine has a rather complex structure and consists of several sections:

  • cecum with appendage - appendix,
  • colon: ascending colon, transverse part of the colon, descending colon, sigmoid colon,
  • rectum.

Schematic representation of the colon


The large intestine begins with the blind section, which is localized in the right ileal region. Its shape resembles a bag delimited by two sphincters: the ileocecal valve separates the small intestine, and the Gerlach valve prevents digestion from entering the appendix.

It is the cecum that is the site of development of the greatest number of various diseases of the large intestine. This is due to both morphological and physiological features of this department. Pain in diseases of the cecum is localized in the right umbilical region or above the ilium.


The main part of the colon is represented by the colon. Its length reaches 1.7 meters and a diameter of about 5-7 cm. The colonic valve is separated from the blind fragment of the intestine by the Busy valve.

In the structure of the colon there are four sections:

The location of the colon

The ascending department is not involved in the main process of digesting food, but it ensures the absorption of liquid from the chyme. It is in this fragment of the digestive tract from feces that 30-50% of water is removed.

The ascending intestine is a continuation of the blind, and its length varies from 11 to 20 cm. This site is located at the back wall of the abdominal cavity on the right.

If any pathology affects the ascending intestine, then the pain syndrome is localized in the area from the ilium to the hypochondrium.

The ascending section goes into the transverse, starting in the hypochondrium on the right. The length of this fragment can be from 40 to 50 cm.

In the transverse intestine, fluid is also absorbed from the chyme, as well as the production of the enzyme necessary for the formation of feces. In addition, it is in this department that pathogenic microorganisms are inactivated.

When the transverse section is affected, discomfort occurs in the area 2-4 cm above the navel.

The location of the transverse colon

The descending intestine has a length of about 20 cm and is located downward from the left hypochondrium. This part of the intestine is involved in the breakdown of fiber and contributes to the further formation of feces.

In the left iliac fossa, the descending section becomes sigmoid. Sigma has a length of up to 55 cm.

Due to the peculiarities of the topography of pain during various pathologies of this organ, they can be localized both in the abdominal region on the left and radiating to the lower back or sacral region.


The rectum is the terminal, that is, the final, department of both the large intestine and the entire digestive tract. This section of the digestive tract is distinguished by the specific structure and functioning.

Rectal Information

The rectum is located in the pelvic cavity. Its length does not exceed 15-16 cm, and the distal end ends with a sphincter, which communicates with the external environment.

Pain with impaired rectal function is localized in the perineum and anus, and may radiate to the pubic area and genitals.

Pain in the colon

Many different diseases can provoke pain in the large intestine.

A number of factors lead to the development of such violations:

  • sedentary lifestyle,
  • eating disorders, including frequent overeating or following a strict diet,
  • abuse of spicy, fatty, smoked foods,
  • violation of the digestive system in patients due to old or senile age,
  • chronic constipation
  • hypotension, accompanied by disorders of peristalsis,
  • continuous use of pharmacological preparations.

Colon diseases

These factors can cause disturbances in the work of the entire digestive tract, and separately of the large intestine. At the same time, it is usually quite difficult to establish the cause of the appearance of the pain syndrome, and it is almost impossible to independently.

In general, digestive system dysfunctions can be divided into two main groups:

  • inflammatory nature: colitis, diverticulitis, Crohn’s disease, etc.,
  • non-inflammatory disorders: atonic constipation, tumor processes, endometriosis, etc.

Diseases of the large intestine can significantly impair the patient's quality of life. In order to prevent the development of complications, it is necessary to pay attention to the appearance of alarming signs of pathology in a timely manner.

Ulcerative colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory lesion of the colon tissue. The disease has a chronic course and is characterized by fairly frequent relapses. To date, it has not been possible to accurately determine the cause of the development of the pathology, however, it is attributed to disorders of autoimmune origin.

There are three categories of the course of the disease:

  • sharp pricks
  • chronic with periodic exacerbations,
  • chronic continuous, in which remission is not observed for 6 months or more.

Symptoms of Colitis

The clinical picture of ulcerative colitis is generally synonymous with other diseases of the large intestine and is manifested by the following symptoms:

    Intense, long-lasting abdominal pain.

Their localization largely depends on which part of the colon was affected by the pathological process. Diarrhea or constipation. In the feces, bloody inclusions can be noted.

  • Signs of intoxication include nausea, cephalalgia, dizziness, drowsiness, and lethargy.
  • Therapy of colitis should be carried out comprehensively, taking into account the severity and form of the disease. With a radical lesion of the intestine, the patient is shown hospitalization.

    Functions Performed

    The division of departments into right and left plays an important role in the performance of certain functions by them. We will analyze the main functions of the large intestine:

    Absorption of substances and the formation of feces are the main functions of the colon.

    • Digestion. The processes of assimilation of food begin in the small intestine, the initial part of the colon contains enzymes that complete this cycle.
    • Suction. In the blind, ascending and descending sections, a passage from the reverse suction takes place. Water, glucose, amino acids are absorbed through the walls and spread by the lymphatic, blood channels throughout the body.
    • Protective. The mucous membrane that covers the walls of the colon protects the organ from destruction.
    • Motor. The body is not active. Muscular work is sluggish. Strengthen peristalsis helps food intake in the stomach. Muscles provide constant work, sometimes amplifying, then decreasing.
    • Tow truck. Through the anus there is an accumulation of useless and toxic substances for the body. In women, it is adjacent to the uterus, in men, to the urinary and prostate glands.

    The functions of the colon play an important role in ensuring the vital functions of the body.

    Colon microflora

    The first part of the colon is the breeding ground of bacteria. Suitable temperature, pH level create the necessary conditions for this. The microorganism environment is 90% composed of anaerobic bacteria. 10% are aerobic bacteria. The properties of microorganisms allow you to participate in the processes of carbohydrate fermentation, the breakdown of proteins and bile pigment. The balance of the processes of decay and fermentation is important, which creates an acidic environment that prevents excessive rotting. Intestinal microflora is responsible for the protective property of the body, kills pathogenic bacteria, combines vitamins B6, K, B12 and fiber.

    Diagnostic Features

    Determining the exact diagnosis depends on various reasons. Modern diagnostic methods make it possible to determine pathology at an early stage, without visible signs. Doctors use the following methods for diagnosis:

    • Examination by capsule. An enterocapsule equipped with a video camera, entering the body through the mouth, passes through each section of the gastrointestinal tract, examining them. The capsule is excreted naturally.
    • Endoscopy The method is painless and harmless, has almost no contraindications. Using a sensor that is inserted through the anal passage, the mucous tissue and intestinal walls are examined.
    • Colonoscopy The procedure is not very pleasant, but its implementation takes a small amount of time. When examining the walls of the colon, it is possible to take the material for a biopsy.
    • Irrigoscopy. The basis of the examination is an X-ray using contrast. On the pictures taken, the doctor can consider anomalies, pathologies.
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    Diseases, their treatment

    The development of the pathological process can be suspected with violation of the stool, constant bloating and pain. Functional disorders develop that affect the absorption of nutrients, as a result, health deteriorates. Typical diseases include:

    • Ulcerative colitis. Inflammation of the mucosa affects the distal parts of the rectum, which becomes chronic and can spread to other parts of the intestine.
    • Crohn's disease. The inflammatory process spreads to the entire organ, capturing the esophagus and stomach, affecting the lymphatic vessel.
    • Tumors Pathology can form both in the left half of the intestine and in the right. Tumors are benign and malignant.
    • Dyskinesia. Intestinal dysfunction known as a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome. Motor cleansing is impaired, degenerative changes in the large intestine occur.
    • Diverticulosis A small, dense bulge forms in the intestine, which becomes inflamed over time.

    All inflammatory diseases occur with the same symptoms: pain, impaired stool, bloating.

    Treatment depends on the degree of complexity: drug therapy, fixation, surgery. Compliance with diet is the main component of an integrated approach. The principle of treatment of diseases is not to relieve acute symptoms, but to prevent the transition of the disease into a chronic course. All pathological conditions are dangerous with complications (strictures, ulcers), therefore, with the first symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor.

    Intestinal wall structure

    The wall of the colon has such layers:

    • internal mucosa, consisting of the epithelium, mucosa and muscle plates,
    • submucosa
    • muscle layer
    • serous membrane.

    The mucous membrane is collected inside the large intestine into deep folds or crypts, due to which the surface of absorption increases significantly. In the mucous plate are Peyer's patches or accumulations of lymphatic tissue in the form of follicles (similar to vesicles). There are also endocrine L-cells that produce hormones of a protein structure.

    Smooth intestinal muscles are collected in longitudinal and circular bundles. This is necessary for contractions that promote the food lump.

    Directly adjacent to the outer serous membrane, and in some places, an omentum or an accumulation of adipose tissue that covers the intestines from the side of the abdominal wall grows.

    The large intestine performs the final digestion of food, participates in the formation of cellular immunity, has an endocrine function, contains a special microflora, forms and removes stool.

    • Digestion. The muscles of the large intestine make various movements (peristaltic and antiperistaltic, pendulum, segmental), under the influence of which the chyme is rubbed, mixed and moves towards the anus. Here, all water is absorbed with substances dissolved in it - sugars, vitamins, electrolytes, amino acids and others. As it passes, the chyme becomes denser, and the absorbed substances enter the bloodstream. Peristalsis or wave-like rhythm of contractions is the most important function due to which nutrients are subjected to sequential digestion, each in its own department. Peristalsis is ensured by a sequential contraction of muscle fibers located longitudinally and transversely.
    • Cellular immunity.Ethen the activation of macrophages and lymphocytes, most of which are in the walls of the intestine (see more about the intestines and immunity).
    • Endocrine function. L cells produce enteroglucagon or a hormone from the secretin family. This hormone is produced only in response to a meal. Its function is weakening of gastric motility, stimulation of insulin production, participation in the work of the cardiovascular system, thyroid gland, kidneys and other organs.
    • Microflora It consists of more than 500 types of bacteria, the vast majority of which belong to anaerobes (they live without oxygen). This is Escherichia coli, bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, fusobacteria, proteus, clostridia and others. As you approach the anal end of the intestine, the number of bacteria in it increases. Both digestive and conditionally pathogenic bacteria coexist in the intestines, including yeast-like fungi, staphylococci, and intestinal viruses. Studies show that the intestinal microflora and humans are in a mutually beneficial relationship. This is anaerobic digestion of unnecessary food residues, suppressing the growth of pathogenic species by training the immune system.
    • The formation and excretion of feces. Accumulation occurs in the ampoule of the rectum. Then there is irritation of the internal sphincter, and the person feels the urge to defecate. Consistent relaxation of the internal, and then the external sphincter provides bowel movement.

    Organ diseases

    Diseases are divided into several groups:

    • motility disorders - weakening or strengthening of peristaltic movements (diarrhea or diarrhea, constipation or constipation with a delay of the stool for more than 3 days),
    • digestion and absorption of beneficial substances (malabsorption syndrome),
    • inflammation (appendicitis and colitis),
    • neoplasms (polyps and cancer),
    • birth defects (diverticulums, Hirschsprung’s disease, atresia),
    • hemorrhoids.

    Any disease of the colon violates the general state of health, dramatically reduces the ability to work.

    Methods for diagnosing the condition of the large intestine

    Some methods came from the depths of centuries, others became possible thanks to the achievements of science:

    • Finger examination. Available in any conditions, reveals cracks, polyps, hemorrhoids, a variety of neoplasms.
    • X-ray with contrast (irrigoscopy). Detects all diseases, defects and new formations are clearly visible.
    • Anoscopy. Allows you to examine the entire rectum, if necessary, take material for biopsy,
    • Sigmoidoscopy. Instrumental method, 30 cm of the intestine are visible, it is possible to use one-time rectoscopes,
    • Colonoscopy Inspection with a flexible probe equipped with a video camera, probe length up to 2 m, you can examine the entire colon
    • Transrectal ultrasound. Examination with a rectal probe inserted into the rectum
    • Angiography. X-ray examination after administration of a contrast agent into the blood. It allows you to accurately localize the tumor, it is used in preparation for surgical treatment.

    Colonoscopy is considered the "gold standard" of research in diseases of the colon.

    The colonoscope is supplied as part of a computer system that allows you to store patient data for an unlimited time. A variant of colonoscopy is a capsule technique, when a person swallows an endocapsule that translates the image onto a monitor.

    Watch the video: Laparoscopic Lysis of Abdominal Adhesions (April 2020).