What does the colon do in the human body?


Quick Answer

The colon is a part of the digestive system and is responsible for absorbing water from the stool before it exits the body. According to Cleveland Clinic, the colon, which is also known as the large intestine, is where the solidifying and processing of solid wastes takes place with the aid of bacterial flora.

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Full Answer

The colon makes up a large portion of the large intestine, which also includes the cecum and the rectum. Unlike the small intestine that precedes it in the digestive tract, the colon does not play a large role in absorbing nutrients from food. However, it does absorb potassium, certain fat-soluble vitamins and water, according to Wikipedia. Some of the vitamins the colon absorbs include thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B12 produced by intestinal bacteria. The colon also compacts feces before it is stored in the rectum and eliminated through the anus. The large intestine takes roughly 16 hours to complete the digestive process.

According to WebMD, the cecum is the first part of the colon that connects to the ileum, which is the last section of the small intestine. The rest of the colon consists of the ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon.

Cleveland Clinic explains that the entire length of the colon reaches 6 feet.

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