Overview of the Large Bowel

Overview of the Large Bowel

We at Inner Health as super excited that you are visiting our website and taking the time to have a look at all the information it contains to support you in your journey of better health and wellbeing.

It is likely that you are already have Sue as your colon therapist or are interested in what services Sue’s clinic offers. We invite you to read Sue’s profile and all about the Colon Therapy she specialises and excels in.

I would like to introduce myself so you know something about the person writing these blogs. My name is Kate and I am Australian having move to your beautiful city of Vancouver 18 months ago. I am a client of Sue’s and feel very blessed to have her as my therapist.

My professional background has been in roles as a senior Colon therapist for several years in a very busy Colon Clinic in Australia. A Clinical Nurse Consultant in the areas of Paediatrics and Women’s Health, specialising in Pain Management. I am also a Childbirth Educator, with qualifications in Naturopathy, Hypnotherapy and Counselling. I am currently studying to become a Meditation teacher and have a keen interest in the gut and all inter- related areas due to my own health issues and I am also very interested in neuroplasticity and how the brain can change.

I look forward each week sharing with you what I hope will be some areas of interest about the gut and general wellbeing. Always keep in mind that each of us is a unique individual so the information given in all the blogs is food for thought, perhaps making you curious about thinking of your body differently or in therapeutic ways. Your health practitioner like Sue is your vital source of information, (as are you about your own body) so please always consult with them.

Okay let us start at the very beginning, always a very good place to start!

Thought it would be useful to gain an overview of your large bowel as it is most likely the reason you are looking at this webpage.

The large bowel is often also referred to as the large intestine or the large colon.

Some fun facts about the colon:

  • The colon receives digested food from the small intestine, then the colon absorbs water and sodium from that food matter and faeces is formed
  • The average length of an adult female colon is 155cm, and men 166 cm. But it is only the average, you perhaps may have a longer bowel therefore your transit time of digested food entering the colon to the rectum for evacuation is longer than the average time
  • 85% of our body’s immune system is actually located in the large bowel. So this is why it is super important to treat your bowel with respect and loving kindness. It is not just a reservoir for faecal matter and a place in the body that is dirty and not to be talked about. Good health comes from having an efficient functioning large colon
  • The bowel has four sections, the ascending, transverse, descending and sigmoid colon ,the cecum, appendix, the rectum and anal canal ( refer to diagram)
  • Most of the large intestine is located in the abdominal cavity but the sigmoid colon and rectum in the pelvic cavity
  • It can take up to around 16 hours for food to be digested and transported to the large colon. From there it can take 1-2 days ( or less if you have a healthy functioning bowel) to move faecal matter through it to the rectum to be evacuated
  • The longer the faecal matter stays in the bowel the more water is absorbed and the toxins are absorbed back into the body. This can lead to constipation, auto toxication and bowel disorders like diverticulitis. Therefore it makes sense to keep things moving along, the body hydrated the bowel efficient and use colon therapy to support your body in this elimination process
  • The colon has muscular walls that contract or squeeze which increases the pressure inside the colon making the faecal matter move towards the colon as long as there is no obstructions such as hard stuck faecal matter, or if the muscular walls are not strong enough through maybe habitual laxative use that weakens irritates and inflames the bowel wall causing things to really in the long term slowdown in the colon.
  • If the faecal matter does reach the rectum through any functional obstruction, the faeces requires the person to strain to evacuate it .If this is a regular occurrence anal fissures and haemorrhoids are likely and not at all pleasant
  • There are cells in the bowel that act like pacemakers (just like the heart) and they set the pace of your colon contractions or peristalsis
  • The brain (central nervous system) and gut are in direct communication with each other and greatly independent and influence each other. This is called the brain-gut axis
  • The nervous system in the colon is under the influence of psychological stressors. Have a think of your own life events. Can you remember a time when you really needed to open your bowels but there was no toilet available so you just had to hang on and hang on? Finally when you could access a toilet you could no longer go, you just felt full and probably had a stomach ache as well. You were so stressed about hanging on that even now with a toilet available you could not relax the very tight anal sphincter (like a valve) that is under nervous system control
  • Or remember when you had to present a lecture to your peers and HATE public speaking? Did you have to run to the toilet and have diarrhoea! See how your mental and emotional states directly influence your colon
  • When you experience pain in the colon area it is usually due to the colon becoming distended with gas, water or faecal matter and sometimes parasites. The colon wall has nerves that specialise in sensing when the colon lumen (the tube) is irritated or full and attempts to move along the faeces.
  • Sometimes you may have pain that is cramping or colicky in nature. Again, this is the bowels way of trying to get rid of what’s irritating it and the peristaltic action of the bowel increases causing a coordinated waves of movement that cause you to feel discomfort. Think when you have had diarrhea , bet you also had an episode of cramping before the explosion and perhaps after as the colon settles down again and stops its strong contractions
  • Did you know that a mother’s gut flora is passed to her baby in- utero, amazing! If the baby is born vaginally it also receives her gut flora and other flora then, so if her gut flora is compromised so will be her baby’s. This is a called transgenerational effect
  • The colon is home to many friendly and often unfriendly bacteria. It also plays a vital role in storing the flora that the body requires to synthesize vitamin K which is needed for blood clotting in our bodies.

So let us consider a few things you can do on a daily basis to support your colon

  • Take around 1 tablespoon (work up to this amount gradually) of apple Cider Vinegar. Dilute in some water sip through a straw so less acid touches your teeth, take on an empty stomach if possible and use as a digestive support
  • Take 5-10 deep belly breaths, allowing the air to enter in and out of your nose. Just observe the breath and particularly the pause period between the in and out breath. Each time you feel on edge, feel anxious, feel disconnected from your body/mind regroup yourself doing conscious breathing
  • Each morning (or perhaps after opening your bowel) thank you colon for everything it does to help your wellbeing. Without your colon working efficiently and well makes your daily life so much better

GUT friendly dairy gluten grain free muffin recipe

Carrot-mini-muffins 

A great recipe book that has lots of gut friendly eating ideas is called YUM, by Theresa Nicassio and The Happy Cookbook by Lola Berry

This recipe is from the Healthy gut website

4 x free range eggs
1x banana honey
3x tablespoon coconut oil
2 x tablespoon almond meal
½ cup of coconut flour
3x teaspoons of spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste)
Zest from an orange
Zest from one lemon
1x teaspoon baking powder
½ bi carb soda
½ cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 180C

Grease muffin tray

Mash the peeled banana; add eggs, honey, coconut oil and beat till well combined. Stir in flour, almond meal, spices, zest, baking powder and bi carb soda.

Mix until well combined

Pour into prepared muffin tin

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm in the middle


Kate Brereton

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