The Colon

The colon is more commonly known as the large intestine. It is a component of the digestive system and sits between the small intestine and the rectum (which leads to the anus). It is around 1.5 meters long and about 6 centimetres wide and performs two key functions.

  • Absorption of vitamins and minerals – As we digest food it turns into a substance called chime. This passes through the small intestine to the colon. On this voyage, the nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream where they can be transported to targets throughout the body.
  • Excrete waste – Various products, such as harmful bacteria and indigested material, need to be removed from the body to avoid causing damage. This is made possible by the excretion of stools (‘poo’). These form throughout the lower digestive system and are passed out of the anus, taking waste products with them.

The colon also harbours many friendly bacteria that are vital in the production of some vitamins that are used throughout the body as well as fighting harmful bacteria to keep us healthy.

If the digestive system and colon is functioning properly, digestion should take a total of 12-24 hours (which will cause stools to be passed 2-3 times each day). However, colon function is often impaired due to the lack of a healthy diet and lifestyle and/or some medication. The consequences of this include the faeces to take longer to move through the bowel, the build-up of this matter on the wall of the colon as well as the possibility of a blockage forming (which can be rather dangerous).

If the colon is prevented from working efficiently, the nutrients that are required for good general health cannot be absorbed very well. Along with this, accumulating toxins are able to pass into the bloodstream. This means that there is more work for the liver, kidneys, skin and lungs to do to expel these toxins to prevent harm.

It is possible to gain the best colon health (and avoiding colon issues in the process) by maintaining a colon cleansing diet and drinking an adequate amount of water. This can be aided by other colon cleansing techniques (including colonic irrigation) to rid the bowel of build-up waste matter.

A healthy colon

It is surprisingly easy to tell if you have a healthy colon. The key characteristic that shows that the colon is functioning efficiently (provided enough fibre is being consumed in the diet) is the regularity of bowel movements and suitable stool consistency.

If enough water and fibre is consumed in the diet, then bowel movements should be occurring quite soon after eating a meal. It has been stated that you should experience a bowel movement every 16-24 hours. The actual process of passing the stool should be a relatively quick and simple one. The stool should be relatively odourless, light brown and of a substantial size in both width and length. The stool should also either sink slowly or float on the water’s surface.

If these are the general characteristics of your bowel movements, you are safe in the knowledge that you have a very healthy colon. If your bowel movements differ significantly from that described, it is possible that you bowel has accumulated a significant amount of waste substances and toxins and you may benefit from a diet higher in water and fibre and/or colonic irrigation.

The colon as an organ of elimination

The colon is one of several vital organs involved in the removal of waste and toxins out of the body. The other major parts of the body also important in waste/toxin elimination are the skin, liver, kidneys and lungs. Therefore, it seems that if the colon’s function was reduced by an accumulation of waste, it shouldn’t be a major problem as these other organs can take on the challenge of removing the colon’s portion. However, this is not so, it is key to maintaining good health that all organs of elimination are working efficiently.

As toxins build up in the colon, it can put a certain amount of stress on the body. There is a category in medicine called ‘clinical exology’ that refers to how toxins can damage the well being of the body. The most important organ required to remove these toxins is the liver, however, the colon, skin, kidneys and lungs are still extremely essential.

If the colon is not functioning fully and removing the significant amount of waste, bacterial and toxin build up that plagues the bowel walls, it puts a lot more pressure on other toxin eliminating organs. This increased pressure on the other organs can lead to issues such as bad skin (spot breakouts) and the organs try and cope with the additional waste products subjected on them due to the lack of colon function.

For this reason, it is very important to keep the colon in good health so it maintains its function as an effective organ of elimination. This will ease the pressure on the other removal organs in the body and will improve your health and the functioning of the immune system.

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