Q:

What does the colon do?

A:

Quick Answer

The colon, also referred to as the large intestine, removes excess nutrients to form stools and transports this product to the rectum. This organ is part of the digestive system and is essential in the removal of waste.

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Full Answer

The colon is divided into four parts. The first part is the ascending colon, which travels up the right side of the abdomen. Next, there is the transverse colon that runs across the abdomen. The third section is the descending colon, which travels down the left side of the abdomen. Finally, there is the sigmoid section, which leads to the rectum.

The inner workings of the colon include muscles that align the walls. These muscles are responsible for moving the stool along. The colon is also coated with many bacteria, which aid in digestion.

While essential to the body's overall functionality, the colon is susceptible to many diseases. One of the most common is colitis, in which the colon becomes inflamed. Like many other organs, the colon is susceptible to cancer; however, regular screenings can make colon cancer preventable. Common treatments for the colon include probiotics, antibiotics and a colonoscopy, which involves tools being placed on an endoscope. This procedure can be used to treat cancer.

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