Food begins its journey through the body at the mouth. It then moves into the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed. The colon — also known as the large intestine or large bowel — absorbs water from digested food. Muscular contractions of the colon move the waste left over from this process to the rectum. A bowel movement expels the solidified waste from the body.
The colon sends out signals when it isn't working properly. It’s vital that you pay attention to these signals. Consult your doctor if you experience the following:
Your doctor will examine you and perform specific tests to determine what, if any, colon disease is present. Colon disease is grouped into three categories, with more specific diagnoses around each.
Inflammatory bowel disease includes:
Diverticular disease includes:
Colon polyps and cancer include:
Click on any of the links above to get a detailed review of these diagnoses.