In most cases the final part of the colon that digested materials pass through before reaching the outside world, the sigmoid colon is a fundamental component of the digestive system, the end of the line so to speak.
Being so close to the outside world, the sigmoid colon can be particularly vulnerable to diseases, so special cleansing care should be used to maintain its optimum health.
Placement of the Sigmoid Colon
The fourth portion of the colon, the sigmoid colon, is placed closest to the rectum, and enjoys a certain freedom of movement that is not experienced by the other parts of the colon. While it normally is contained within the pelvis, it can at times extend into the abdominal cavity, forming a loop that lies behind the bladder in men, and the uterus in women. Picking up where the descending colon left off, it eventually ends in the rectum.
Neighbors of the Sigmoid Colon
- Small intestine
- Descending colon
Completely surrounded by the peritoneum, this section of the colon can loop its tubular self in directions that depend entirely on the individual. It is composed of specialized muscles, blood vessels, and lymphatic tissue.
Sigmoid Colon Function
The sigmoid colon provides the final touches in service as part of the digestive system, packaging and extracting any final nutrients and precious water from digested waste matter before it leaves the body. It acts in concert with the anus to provide the final push to this waste material, secreting mucus to ease in its expulsion.
Disorders of the Sigmoid Colon
Constipation is a frequent sign that all is not quite right with the sigmoid colon. A diet high in fat requires more mucus secretions to expel waste material, putting the sigmoid colon in overdrive.
In addition, as the gatekeeper to the outside world the sigmoid colon is the section of the colon most likely to battle harmful bacteria. For these reasons, it’s important to pay special attention to the sigmoid colon and its role in overall health.
Symptoms of Sigmoid Colon Disease
- Abdominal cramping
If experiencing one or more of these symptoms, a visit to a health care professional may be beneficial. Preventing digestive problems in the sigmoid colon can be easily achieved with attention to diet and exercise.
High fiber foods help keep bowel movements regular, as does exercise which keeps body metabolism and momentum up to par.
Keeping the Sigmoid Colon Healthy
- Get regular exercise to help with bowel movements
- Consume a fiber-rich diet
- Avoid high fat foods or dairy products
- Cease smoking
- Drink plenty of water
Simple preventative measures can go a long way. Keeping the sigmoid colon clean is another important factor in its health. If there is a buildup of waste materials some sort of colon cleansing program could be considered, including colon irrigation, enemas, or self-administered colon cleansers. It is up to the individual to research what type of sigmoid colon health program is the best.