Human Intestine and its Functionality
Human intestine is a part of excretory system of body. It consists of long, continuous tubes connected from stomach to the anus. Intestine is divided into small intestine, large intestine and rectum. Its main function is to absorb nutrients and water from the food.
Functions of Intestine
Small intestine’s main function is to absorb most of the nutrients from our food intake. It is approx 20 feet long and 1 inch in diameter. It is further divide by a velvety tissue line into duodenum, jejunum and ileum.
Large intestine consists of large bowel or colon which is 5 feet long and 3 inches in diameter. Main function of colon is to absorb water from wastes.
Diseases of Intestines
What is Colorectal (Bowel) Cancer
Colorectal cancer or cancer of large intestine is amongst the most common cancers in human race. It can affect any part of colon or rectum however most of the time it affects the lower part of the sigmoid colon or rectum. Colorectal cancer usually begins a malfunctioned cell within the lining of the rectum or colon which further develops into small fleshy lump. With time it can become cancerous.
Colorectal cancer is generally cancerous polyps that are caused by inherited gene mutations i.e. the risk is passed through families. The most common forms of inherited colon cancer syndromes are
- Lynch Syndrome: it is also called Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer (HNPCC). People with inherited genes are high on risk with colon cancer that is tending to develop before the age of 50.
- Familial Adenomatos Polyposis (FAP): It is a rare disorder that causes development of thousands of polyp in colon and rectum lining. The risk of developing this cancer is statistically before the age of 40.
Most of the people with colorectal cancer experience no symptoms in early stages. The symptoms appeared are vary according to the size and depends upon where it is located. Some common Symptoms of colorectal cancer include;
- Inexplicable weight loss with severe Weakness
- Constant abdominal pain and discomfort such as gas or cramps
- Change in regular bowel habits with unexplained reasons of diarrhea and constipation
- Rectal bleeding
Bowel or intestinal obstruction is fibrous bands or tissue in abdomen that forms blockage to keep the digested food from passing through small or large intestine. It is caused by adhesions formed after surgery, hernias, tumors or infected and inflamed pouches.
Common Causes of Bowel Obstruction
The basic cause of bowel obstruction in which something physically blocks intestinal function includes;
- Bands of fibrous tissue in abdominal cavity formed after abdomen or pelvic surgery
- Portions of intestine that stick out into another part of body i.e. Hernias
- Tumor and fibroids
- Crohn’s disease which is inflammatory bowel disease
- Twisting of intestinal tubes i.e. Volvulus
Colon obstruction is also potentially caused by mechanical intervention and inflammatory diseases such as
- Colon Cancer
- A condition in which bulging pouches in digestive tract become inflamed or infected. It is known as Diverticulitis.
- Inflammation and stricture that causes narrowing of colon
- Twisting of colon
- Impacted feces
Some major symptoms to diagnose and assess intestinal obstruction include; Nausea, Diarrhea, Vomiting with periodic abdominal cramps, constipation and swelling of abdomen.
To stay healthy with lowered risks of intestinal cancers, obstruction and inflammations, following measures must be taken n serious note;
- Avoid tobacco intake in any form
- Eat healthy diet with limited fats and lots of fruit and vegetables
- Be positively active and maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohols.
- Take proper post-surgery cautions to avoid fibroids and blackage.