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What is the Bowel?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 April 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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The bowel or bowels is a term used to identify the intestines in the human body. It is not unusual for the large intestine to be referred to as the large or primary bowel, while the small intestine is known as the secondary or small bowel. Regardless of the name applied, the bowels are essential to life, as they complete the digestion process and move waste materials into the colon for eventual evacuation from the body via the anus.

Because of the constant activity of the intestines, there are a number of health issues that can arise. Often, any problem with the function of the intestines leads to significant abdominal pain and discomfort. While some conditions are relatively minor and can be addressed with dietary changes or over the counter products, other types of intestinal problems require the attention of a physician.

Constipation and diarrhea are two of the most common types of intestinal issues experienced by people of all ages. Fortunately, both can usually be treated with ease. Diarrhea is often linked to the diet. By adding fiber to the diet and avoiding foods that tend to create an adverse reaction in the digestive tract, the condition will normally clear up very quickly.

With constipation, the problem may be a lack of certain foods in the diet that help to move materials through the digestive tract properly. As a result, normal evacuation becomes impossible to achieve. Over the counter medications may help to restore function. In some instances, the use of an enema will make it possible to eliminate waste from the body and provide a great deal of relief from pain.

There are a number of intestinal problems that are likely to require professional medical treatment. Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is one example. Medication is often required to ease the pain and also regulate bowel movements. Ulcerative colitis is a disorder of the large intestine that can inhibit the normal absorption of nutrients and may require strong medication or possibly even surgery to correct.

Even with seemingly minor issues, it is important to not wait too long to see a doctor. Should the ailment not respond to home remedies or over the counter products within a few days, make an appointment with a physician as soon as possible. The use of prescription medication has a good chance of bringing about the relief that was not possible using other methods.

Maintaining proper bowel health is essential to enjoying good general health. A malfunction of the intestinal tract can lead to the development of other ailments that impact many other organs in the body. By quickly identifying and treating any type of bowel disorder, the chances of complications from the problem arising at a later date are greatly minimized.

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