What is the job of the large intestine?


Quick Answer

The large intestine is primarily responsible for absorbing water and electrolytes from digestive residue. It also stores fecal matter until it is passed. Digestion is completed in the upper half of the large intestine, and bacteria in the large intestine produce vitamin K and B vitamins.

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Full Answer

The large intestine absorbs vitamins and water and converts digested food into fecal matter. The large intestine is the gastrointestinal tract's final section, and it is sometimes called the large bowel.

Notably, the large intestine is actually shorter than the small intestine, but it is dubbed the large intestine because it is much thicker in diameter than the small intestine. It measures around 5 feet in length and 2.5 inches in diameter. The small intestine ranges in length from 22 to 25 feet.

Food from the small intestine enters the large intestine by way of the ileocecal sphincter. The food is digested and converted into chyme. As the chyme moves through the large intestine, bacteria in the large intestine work to digest substances that are not readily digestible elsewhere in the digestive tract. The gastrocolic reflex within the large intestine works to propel waste towards the anus an average of two or three times each day.

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