Colon Functions

The colon or the large intestine is a tubular structure which extends from the small intestine to the anus. It has several functions, being responsible majorly for the re-absorption of water and other essential liquids and salts. Once the absorption occurs the waste products that are left behind are referred to as stool.

The formation and collection of the stool once completed, an urge to defecate is created. The colon stores the stool in the region known as rectum until it passes out from the body. The ascending and the transverse parts of the large intestine are the region where the majority of the re-absorption process occurs.

The remaining parts in this region handle the storage and evacuation process.

How is Colon Function Important?

This part of the digestive tract plays a major role in the elimination of the solid waste products in our body. It functions as a waste removal structure in our body. Elimination of the waste products along with toxic substances is necessary for normal functioning of our body and better health.

The re-absorption of water and salts in the large intestine is a complex procedure which depends on numerous factors. Proper functioning is altered by many factors such as age, diet, lifestyle, habits, medications we consume, and underlying disorders or conditions affecting this area.

Intestinal Bacteria

Our colon is inhabited by millions of micro-organisms that are both beneficial and harmful to our body and colonic function. When in good health, our body and the helpful micro-organisms keep the harmful ones in check.

The helpful bacteria play a key role in breaking down of the end products of digestion and formation of stool. This harmony may be broken down due to the consumption of antibiotic medications for a long period. Numerous other medications may also have a similar role, while the role of diseases has also been established.

This frequently results in alteration of the bowel habits, improper absorption of water and other elements and abdominal pain. Restoration of the helpful bacteria can be carried out to a certain extent with the certain medications that contain these organisms as spores (or seeds, in simple terms).

Numerous supplements are also available over-the-counter that serve similar functions.


The food we consume (and liquids we drink) decides the health of the colon and its correct functioning. Having a fibrous diet and drinking plenty of fluids (mainly plain water) helps in better formation of stools and easier removal.

A diet high in leafy green vegetables, nuts and pulses, legumes, wholefood cereals, fresh fruits and other high fiber natural foods is highly beneficial. Choose plain water in place of soda and other artificially flavoured and sweetened drinks for faster hydration and good weight maintenance.

An improper diet may adversely alter the normal functioning of the colon. This can cause a person to suffer from a variety of bad digestive-tract conditions such as loose stools, constipation or alteration in bowel habits if the diet does not contain substances that add bulk to the stool.


Increasing age may have its effect on the colon function. As age progresses many of the organs in our body begin to slow down. Proper care is required to help the large intestine function normally in late adulthood.

A well planned diet which has all the essential nutrients and fibrous foods is required to maintain the good functioning of the large intestine. Older individuals are also prone to certain disorders of the colon which may affect its function.

At the other end of the scale, the intestines in babies and younger children are in the development stages which require proper planning of the diet.

Colonic Diseases and Others

The presence of certain disorders such as inflammatory bowel disorders, infections and cancers affect the normal functioning in this region. Such conditions either alter the functioning or tend to destroy certain portions of the colon thereby reducing its functional capabilities.

The affected individuals usually tend to suffer from diarrhea and abdominal pain. Some of these disorders may also require removal of a portion of the large intestine or its complete removal.

Smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol has also been associated with altered function in a detrimental way.

Some Tips for Better Colon Function

Here are some helpful tips you can read that may help you to maintain a healthy digestive system and avoid certain debilitating conditions.

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