The Human Body Corporation
The Large Intestine...AKA...The Colon
I look like a worm. I get my name from my diameter, not my length. I am no more than 2 meters long. I'm rather short in comparison to my partner; the small intestine can be up to 9 meters long.
My Position within the Human Body Corporation
My job takes place in the digestive system and I am located inside the abdomen. I think of myself and the small intestine as co-workers. We are connected by a rather useless organ called the appendix. I still can't figure out what the appendix does or why he's even here. The body can function perfectly without it.
Interesting Facts about Me
So you want to know some interesting facts about me? As mentioned earlier, my name comes from my diameter. I have a larger diameter than the small intestine, almost twice as wide. I am divided into six parts; the cecum, ascending colon, descending colon, transverse colon, sigmoid colon, and rectum. Some people think I look like a segmented tapeworm; I don't think that's a compliment. I am full of bacteria. I know that sounds scary, but much of the bacteria are beneficial bacteria. One last interesting fact is that I can be full of embarrassing gas. I know, it's gross sometimes.
I've been told that I work well with others. Functioning as part of the digestive system, I also work well with the circulatory system. My department excretes nutrients and water into the blood. The circulatory system distributes the water and nutrients throughout the body. My department works with the endocrine system too. The endocrine system (which is signaled by the circulatory system) helps us control the speed of digestion. The digestive system and the excretory system (kidneys) work side by side to rid the body of waste and to control the amount of water in the body corporation. I like to think of us as the waste management departments.
My Job Duties...or shall I say "doodies"
I play a specific role in the waste management process. I get the material that is left over from the small intestine. Most of what comes my way is just waste. I remove water from the waste as it passes through me. The waste becomes more solid as it makes it way to the rectum. I helped to form poop! Woohoo!
Let's summarize the process of my department. Food enters the mouth and makes it way through the esophagus to the stomach. From the stomach, the contents travel through the small intestine and finally make it to me. I remove water to form solid poop that can be released through the anus as needed.
I am very important to the Human Body Corporation because I supply water to the bloodstream and most importantly, I prepare the waste for removal. Without me, the toxins from the waste would stay in the body, causing possible death.
The HBC Without Me
If something unfortunate happened to me, the Human Body Corporation would suffer. Let's just say that I ruptured. The toxins would leak out of me and into the body. This could cause death because of all of the poison entering the bloodstream. This condition is called Sepsis. Some Human Body Corporations have diseased large intestines, such as Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. These conditions can be managed with proper diet and medication. If it is allowed to get out of control, sometimes I have to be surgically removed. Depending on how much of me is removed, the Human Body Corporation receives a "replacement", known as a colostomy or ileostomy. A colostomy simply means that the healthy part of the large intestine is pulled through the abdomenal wall where a bag can be attached to catch the waste. An ileostomy means that I have been completely removed and the small intestine is pulled through where a bag is attached to catch waste. If I am no longer a part of the HBC, then I can't help supply the blood stream with the excess water. The HBC can become dehydrated. The HBC can develop a disease known as Short Bowel Syndrome. This can be life-threatening because the HBC is at risk for bacterial infections. The Human Body Corporation can find a way to function without me, but it puts more stress on the other body systems. Without me, individuals need to be more careful of what they put into the HBC so that their overall health is as good as it can possibly be.
Heath Biology, James E. McLaren & Lissa Rotundo, Pages 566-569