1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum



Updated: April 8, 2007

Please send image use requests to coloncancer.guide@about.com
Illustration by Donna Myers © 2007

The colon is about six feet long and is the part of the body's digestive system that moves waste material from the small intestine to the rectum. The small intestine sucks the nutrients out of what you eat and then pours the leftover sludge into the cecum. This sludgy waste then moves from the cecum to the colon for further processing.

The colon absorbs water from the sludge while transporting it toward the rectum. In the process, the colon may also absorb harmful materials. The longer it takes for waste to pass through the colon, the greater the chance of absorbing such materials.

You can tell how long waste sits in your colon by how often you poop. In general, the more you poop, the faster your colon is processing material.

Related Articles: To learn more about colorectal anatomy, please take a look at the Anatomy of the Large Intestine gallery.

  1. Colon. Merriam-Webster Online. 4 Sep. 2006 [http://m-w.com/dictionary/colon].
  2. Colon (Anatomy). Wikipedia. 4 Sep. 2006 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colon_(anatomy)].
  3. The Large Intestine. Gray's Anatomy. 4 Sep. 2006 [http://www.bartleby.com/107/249.html].
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Colon Cancer
  4. Basics
  5. Colon Cancer A-Z
  6. Anatomy
  7. Colon
  8. Colon - Definition of Colon - Anatomy of Colon

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.