Colon and Rectum

The colon and the rectum together form what is commonly called the large intestine, which is the last part of the digestive tract. The large intestine is about 1.4 to 1.6 metres long. The colon is the part which absorbs water from the digested food, which enters it from the small intestine. The part where the small intestine joins the large intestine is called the caecum. The appendix is found at the caecum. The rectum, which is just above the anus, serves to hold what is not absorbed, and that subsequently forms the faeces. From the rectum, the faeces is then expelled through the anus.

Problems of the large intestine are very common. One of the most common emergency conditions that we see is acute appendicitis. Other common conditions include piles (haemorrhoids) and colon or rectal cancers.

 

Problems of the colon or rectum may present with the following symptoms:

 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Bleeding in the stools
  • Change in the usual bowel habits
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea
  • Pain at the anus
  • Pain during defecation
  • Lump at the anus
  • Intestinal obstruction which presents with abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, vomiting and inability to pass motion or flatus (gas)

 

We highlight some of the common conditions here:

 

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