Wikijunior:Human Body/Digestive System/Large Intestine
The large intestine is the final part of the digestive system. In the large intestine, digestion is finished, and nutrients continue to be absorbed. Finally, wastes get ready to leave the body.
What does the large intestine look like?
The large intestine is fatter and shorter than the small intestine. It is about 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) wide and 5 feet (1.5 meters) long. It wraps around the small intestine like an upside-down U.
What are the parts of the large intestine?
The large intestine is shaped like an upside-down horseshoe. The left side that goes up is called the ascending colon. The part that goes across the top is the transverse colon. The part that goes back down is the descending colon. At the end of this is the rectum. This is the opening through which waste leaves the body.
What is the function of the large intestine?
The large intestine finishes digesting food. Food stays in the large intestine longer than any other part of the digestive system. Food can be there for up to a whole day or more. Any remaining nutrients are absorbed into the blood. Most of the rest of the liquid that enters the large intestine is water. Much of this is absorbed into the blood as well.
Whatever is left is waste, or feces. This passes out of the body when you go to the bathroom.
How does the large intestine interact with other parts of the body?
The large intestine is connected to the small intestine. Though not as long as the small intestine the large intestine plays more of an important role in the digestive system. Watery food comes from the small intestine into the large intestine.
Minerals and water are absorbed from the large intestine into the blood. Then they can be used by the rest of the body.
Attached to the large intestine is an organ called the appendix. It doesn't do anything that we know of. Sometimes it gets infected though and must be removed before it bursts and kills you.