The colon and the rectum together form what is commonly called the large intestine, the last part of the digestive tract. The large intestine is about 1.4 to 1.6 metres long. The colon absorbs water from digested food, which enters it from the small intestine. The rectum, which is just above the anus, holds what is not absorbed and subsequently forms faeces. From the rectum, faeces are then expelled through the anus.
Common diseases of the large intestine are haemorrhoids (also known as piles), anal fistula, anal fissure, colon cancer, rectal cancer and colon polyps. Common complaints include bleeding in the stools, irregular bowel habits and abdominal pain.
These diseases are quite common, and unfortunately, frequently cause discomfort and even embarrassment. However, with early diagnosis and treatment, many of these conditions can be managed well and have good outcomes.