Also called the large intestine, the colon is a long, hollow tube located at the end of the digestive system. It is where the body produces and stores waste (feces).
Medical Advisor: Pablo Henrique Alemán Ochoa, Internal Medicine Physician,
practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare.
Of every 10 people, between 5 and 7 will experience a colon condition at some point in their lives. As Dr. Pablo Alemán explains, “Colon conditions are very common and have a long history, as the inflammation of this organ is associated with a person’s emotions. The colon is the center of our emotions and is affected when someone feels anxiety, worried, sadness or anger – manifesting in constipation, pain, bloating, loose bowels or diarrhea.” The fast pace of modern life – which often involves an unbalances and exaggerated diet, stress, a lack of time and poor sleep hygiene – is compounded by risk factors that affect how this organ functions, causing problems ranging from constipation, diarrhea and cramping to diseases such as polyps, colitis or colorectal cancer. By remedying these external causes, it is possible to treat and prevent complications in order to keep the ability to digest from deteriorating, allowing the digestive tract to transform food into smaller and more simple substances that can reach the organs and bring them nutrients. The main function of the large intestine (colon) is to transport food waste, reabsorb the water this produces and eliminate them from the body as feces.
Get to know your body
In general, the foods that the body is most intolerant to are legumes, cabbage and dairy products as well as certain irritants such as bell peppers, hot peppers or tomatoes. Sensitivity to these foods, however, depends on each person’s body. One recommendation is to take the time to eat or drink a small snack that isn’t too cold in order to aid in your digestion.
5 to 10 times, on average, is how many times you should chew before swallowing in order for your saliva to begin the digestive process.
Conditions and exams
Irritable bowel syndrome is a chronic condition consisting of both extremely symptomatic and asymptomatic periods. Its warning signs include abdominal pain, constipation, bloating, flatulence and changes in bowel movements. It can also cause polyps, ulcerative colitis and diverticulosis. The treating physician will recommend the treatments that patients should follow.
10 to 20% of the world’s population suffers from irritable bowel syndrome, the most common colon condition.
Tips for a healthy colon
- When eating, try to eat enough without getting full. Being full increases the load on the digestive tract, causing indigestion.
- The warning signs that somebody is suffering from a colon condition and should seek treatment include weight loss, a lack of bowel movements, blood in the stool or unexplained anemia.
- Take time to go to the bathroom to avoid fissures, hemorrhoids or pain when making a bowel movement.
1.5 to 2 liters of water is the recommended amount you should drink a day for a healthy bowel transit.