What is the main function of the colon?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

The colon's major goal is to suck fluid back into your body; when bacteria from an unsanitary cheese dog in Mexico City hinders its function, that's right, you get diarrhea. Typically, as the liquid drains out, it leaves a solid mass of waste—your feces (or caca, if you're trying to be polite or potty-train your child). As caca gets harder and harder, it moves down to the muscular rectum at the bottom of your digestive system. Waste exits your body through the rectum when you relax your sphincter muscles.

YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

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YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger

Between your full-length mirror and high-school biology class, you probably think you know a lot about the human body. While it's true that we live in an age when we're as obsessed with our bodies as...
The primary role of the colon, which is about five to six feet long, is to reabsorb water so that a solid stool is formed. Once digested food leaves the terminal ileum, it enters the colon. Very little to no vitamin and mineral absorption occurs in the colon, which is why if you have a colectomy (the removal of your colon), you don't become malnourished.
Dr. Stephanie A. Wishnev, MD
Colorectal Surgeon

The colon's function is to absorb water and salts out of your stool material, says Stephanie Wishnev, MD, a colorectal surgeon at MountainView Hospital. In this video, she says the body stores those substances and then gets rid of them. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.