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What are the bowels?

The bowels are part of a person's intestines and are responsible for the body's waste disposal system after eating food.

The bowels include:

The colon

The colon is a 1.8m (6ft) long muscular tube connecting the small intestine to the rectum and consists of four sections: the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon and the sigmoid colon. The colon, which along with the rectum is called the large intestine, is a highly specialised organ that is responsible for processing waste so that it is removed from the body. The colon removes water from the stool, and stores the solid stool. Usually once or twice a day it empties its contents into the rectum to begin the process of elimination.

The rectum

The rectum is a 20cm (8in) chamber that connects the colon to the anus. It is the rectum's job to receive stool from the colon, to let you know that there is stool to be evacuated and to hold the stool until evacuation happens.

Digestive tract

Bowel conditions

Conditions and symptoms affecting the bowels include:

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 27, 2017

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