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Habits to Improve Colon Health

A healthy colon is essential for a well-functioning digestive tract and optimal overall health, so it is important to take good care of your colon.

Your colon is also known as the large intestine. It is the last part of the digestive tract, which absorbs fluids and nutrients from the food you eat. Waste material moves into the colon, which removes water from the waste to form stool. The colon also balances pH and electrolytes.

When the colon functions poorly, stool can become too hard; the resulting constipation can leave you feeling uncomfortable and bloated. Constipation can also cause hemorrhoids and anal fissures. Stool can also be too water, causing diarrhea that can lead to electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, and other health problems.

Other health problems include diverticulitis, which is a condition in which pouches form in the digestive tract, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and even colon cancer.

Beneficial bacteria in the colon help synthesize vitamins, protect the body from harmful microorganisms, process remaining food, and help maintain proper pH balance.

Fortunately, you can take steps to improve and maintain the health of your colon.

Three Habits for a Healthy Colon

  1. Eat a high-fiber diet

    Dietary fiber pushes food through the large intestine to keep the digestive tract moving along. Dietary fiber acts like a scrub brush to scrape leftover stool from the walls of the colon to reduce your risk of diverticulitis and its painful complication, diverticulosis. Consuming a high fiber diet also keeps you regular to reduce your risk of constipation.

  2. Drink plenty of water

    Water helps keep your stool soft and moving through your digestive tract quickly. The faster stool moves through your colon, the less time your body has to absorb toxins from stool. Drinking plenty of water also reduces your risk of constipation. Aim for about eight cups of water each day for maximum colon health.

  3. Undergo routine colon screening

    The American Cancer Society recommends undergoing routine colon screening to detect colon cancer beginning at age 45. People who are in good health and have a life expectancy of greater than 10 years should continue regular colon screenings.

    There are two types of colon screening – stool-based tests and colonoscopy. Stool-based tests look for blood and DNA associated with colon cancer. Colonoscopy also looks for colon cancer, but the doctor performing colonoscopy can also remove polyps that may someday become cancerous.

For more information about habits to improve the health of your colon, talk to your health care provider. Schedule an appointment with Virtual Imaging today by calling 770.730.0119.