How the Colon Works
The colon (also called the large intestine) is a muscular tube that forms the last part of the digestive tract. It absorbs water and stores food waste. The colon is about 4 to 6 feet long. The rectum is the last 6 inches of the colon.
How Food Moves Through the Colon
Semiliquid food waste from the small intestine enters the colon at the cecum (beginning of the colon). As this waste (stool) travels through the colon, it loses water and solidifies. Strong muscles keep the stool moving through the colon. The stool is moved toward the sigmoid colon (last section of the colon). From there, it passes into the rectum, where it is stored until it leaves the body through the anus during a bowel movement.