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What is the Transverse Colon?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The transverse colon is an important part of the digestive system. The colon, sometimes referred to as the large intestine, makes up the final portion of the digestive system. The longest portion of the colon is referred to as the transverse colon. This portion of the colon serves as a connection point for the ascending colon and the descending colon.

Food and other materials that pass through the digestive tract spend the most time in this part of the colon. It is curved and has the appearance of forming an arch when viewed from certain angles. Bordering the upper portion of the transverse colon is the gallbladder and the liver, and the lower region is bordered by the small intestine.

The strongest of the muscles located in the colon are found in the transverse portion. This also makes the transverse colon the most movable area of the colon. Because of the strength of the muscles found in this area, digested materials are forcefully pushed into the next part of the colon, preparing for exit from the body.

While digested materials are sitting in the transverse colon, vitamins as well as water are extracted from the waste material for use by the body. Once the useful material has been extracted, a more solid waste material is left to pass from the body as feces.

As an important part of the digestive system, the transverse colon is particularly susceptible to problems leading to compromised health. For example, this portion of the large intestine is the most vulnerable to colon cancer. Other symptoms of an improperly working colon include abdominal pain, bloody stools, fatigue, and rapid weight loss. Any of these symptoms should be reported to a medical professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Spicy foods often cause transverse colon pain. In patients who experience this uncomfortable symptom, there are a variety of remedies. Avoiding the offending foods is the most effective way to prevent the pain. Many patients also report significant pain relief from the use of antacids. Prescription medications are available to help control these symptoms as well.

Maintaining a healthy colon can often prevent pain as well as blockages. Eating a low-fat, high-fiber diet is often the first suggestion made by medical professionals. Caffeine and alcohol also should be used in moderation. Drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly can help keep everything moving normally through the digestive system as well.

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Discussion Comments

By OeKc05 — On Dec 01, 2011

I have read that if your colon gets clogged for a long time, the feces can actually poison the rest of your body. I have had problems with constipation in the past, and I am interested in natural ways to cleanse my colon.

A friend who goes regularly to a facility that offers colon cleansing told me that it is possible for your intestines to harbor as much as forty pounds of waste! The weight and pressure from this would cause a lot of pain and health problems.

I don't want to go to a professional for a cleansing, because to me, this is embarrassing. Does anyone know of any natural remedies for a clogged transverse colon that I can try in the privacy of my home?

By kylee07drg — On Dec 01, 2011

My grandfather had to have a transverse colon resection after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. The surgery worked, and he is still alive today, but for awhile there, we were all pretty scared by the situation.

He had become weak and tired, but at first, he just attributed this to old age. After he started noticing that his stools were bloody, he became concerned. He had been having abdominal pain, so he thought he might have an ulcer.

The doctor found cancer in his transverse colon. We were so happy that it could be eliminated with a resection.

By seag47 — On Nov 30, 2011

I always assumed that vitamins were absorbed by the body while food was still in the stomach. I didn't know this took place in the transverse colon!

It's a good thing that its muscles are super strong. I'm sure it takes a lot of force to push solid matter through the twisting intestines.

I have known the pain that constipation can bring about, so I always drink lots of water to help keep things flowing. I would imagine that the transverse colon would be an unpleasant place for food to get trapped, so I also eat lots of whole grains to stay regular.

By lighth0se33 — On Nov 30, 2011

After reading this article, a problem I have been having makes more sense. I recently started eating spicy foods, because I heard they could speed up my metabolism and help me lose weight. I have been in pain ever since.

I thought that the pain was in my stomach, but now that I think about it, I feel pain directly below my stomach. I think that my transverse colon is suffering from my new diet.

I hate having to do it, but I will have to alter my diet now. I don't want to be causing any colon trouble if I can help it.

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