Colon Function and Health Information

Proper colon function is necessary to maintain good health and assist the body in effectively eliminating food wastes. The colon is the end of the gastrointestinal tract that also includes the rectum, anus, and large intestine. As the contents of digestion are moved along the colon receives them and performs its general function. It absorbs water and minerals and produces and eliminates fecal matter. The entire process of digestion takes anywhere from 12 to 24 hours depending on colon health and if it is fully functional. Infrequent bowel movements can leave toxic residues from the undigested food in the color and cause this process to slow down. Diet is important to the function of the colon and it can be necessary for a colon cleanse to be performed.

Two different forms of colon cleanse are the use of high colonics or colon irrigation and the use of liquid or powder supplements. High colonic therapies are performed by colon therapists and work like an enema. While lying on a table, a pump flushes gallons of water into the rectum and is then massaged by the therapist. Enzymes, herbs, or probiotics can be mixed with the water to help move the process along. Supplements are taken by mouth or are used rectally to work internally to improve colon health. Laxatives, enemas, and anti-parasite capsules are all apart of this category. The goals of these cleanings are to improve the immune system, assist in losing weight, and reduce the risk for colon cancer.

Colon cancer is a colorectal cancer that begins as a small vascular growth on the surface of a mucous membrane and develops into cancer. It starts in the large intestine or the rectum. Symptoms of this condition include blood in the stool, diarrhea, constipation, extreme weight loss, and anemia. Those with medical history of colon cancer in their family are at a higher risk for developing this cancer. Diet and exercise are important for prevention. Foods to avoid while trying to clean out the colon and prevent cancer include, black tea or coffee, alcohol, sodas, fried foods, and sugar products. Eating a diet that includes around 30 grams of fiber per day is necessary. Fruits and vegetables are required at least twice a day. An average diet only contains 25 grams per day, so supplements might be necessary. Calcium is also helpful. The number of polyps produced can be reduced with the use of 1 aspirin per day.

The presence of cancer in other areas of the body, family history, and ulcerative colitis can all play a roll in the development of colon cancer. Treatment of colon cancer is done in steps. Chemotherapy first kills the cancer cells, surgery removes them and radiation destroys the cancerous tissues. If found in the early stages, the cancerous cells can be removed during a routine colonoscopy. As the cancer progresses into stages I, II, or III more extensive processes are needed. Dietary and lifestyle changes are important. The intake of high amounts of fiber can improve colon function.

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