colon

colon

[koh-luhn]

The colon is part of the large intestine, running roughly five to six feet in length. There are four parts to the colon: the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon. It functions to remove salt, water and some nutrients to form stool. A well-functioning colon works to contract the contents along, guided by healthy bacteria and muscles that line the walls.

The diagram of the colon is simple, as there are four sections. The ascending colon is located on the right side of the abdomen, whereas the transverse colon sits across the abdomen. The descending colon is down the left side of the abdomen, and the sigmoid colon is curved right before the rectum.

Complications may occur that can hinder the function and health of this organ. Inflammation and infections include colitis, diverticulosis, diverticulitis and ulcerative colitis. Colitis is a general inflammation of the colon that is often caused by infections. Diverticulitis is inflammation that is caused by weak areas in the muscle linings, creating small pouches called diverticuli. Diverticulitis is a result of diverticuli becoming inflamed or infected, which can cause symptoms of pain and constipation. Ulcerative colitis is an inflammation of the colon and rectum. Other conditions include hemorrhages, inflammatory bowel disease, Chrohn's disease, diarrhea, polyps and cancer.

There are tests and treatments that are used to detect and treat abnormalities. Tests include a colonoscopy, virtual colonoscopy, blood tests, sigmoidoscopy and colon biopsy. Colon treatments include antibiotics, probiotics, stool softeners, laxatives, antidiarrheal agents, enema, polypectomies, colonoscopies and surgery.

It is advised to make regular visits to the doctor to ensure the colon and other organs are in healthy condition. Early detection is crucial to receiving a full recovery, so it is important to seek medical attention when any signs of abnormalities occur. For more information on the colon, visit this website: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1949039-overview

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