21. The Colon (Large Intestine)
The large intestine, also called the colon, is part of the final stages of digestion. It is a large tube that escorts waste from the body. The body has two types of intestines. The small intestine is connected to the stomach and handles the middle part of the digestion process. A 5- to 7-foot-long muscular tube that connects the small intestine to the rectum and is responsible for processing waste so that defecation is easy and convenient. It is made up of the ascending (right) colon, the transverse (across) colon, the descending (left) colon, and the sigmoid colon, which connects to the rectum.
The 4 major functions of the large intestine are the recovery of water and electrolytes, formation and storage of feces, and fermentation of some of the indigestible food matter by bacteria. The ileocaecal valve controls the entry of material from the last part of the small intestine called the ileum. The colon is much wider than the small intestine but is also much shorter. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the small intestine is 22 feet (6.7 meters) long. The colon is only 6 feet (1.8 m) long. This 6 feet of dense muscle is divided into four parts: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, and the sigmoid colon.