Large Intestine Facts

When the food we eat passes through the small intestine, about 90% of the nutrients are absorbed into the body. Any material that is left enters the large intestine. The large intestine’s job is to help the body absorb any water or minerals remaining and prepare the rest for waste.

● The large intestine is about five feet long and about three inches wide. It is called “large” because of its width. It is part of the digestive system.
● The large intestine is where food material is turned into feces, which is the scientific term for poop or solid waste.
● The large intestine is made up of four parts. They are called; the cecum, colon, rectum, and anal canal. Since the colon is the largest part, the term colon often refers to the large intestine.
● It takes about eight to ten hours from the time the food material enters the large intestine until it is excreted as waste.
● Over 400 species of bacteria live in our large intestine. They play an important role in creating vitamins and minerals and preparing waste.
● The food material that the body can’t use moves from the colon to the rectum. The rectum is like a storage area for the waste. Muscles of the rectum move the feces out through the anus.
● The cecum is at the beginning of the large intestine and it mostly absorbs salts. The appendix is attached to the cecum.


Bacteria: Also called germs, they are microscopic organisms that we can’t see with our eyes. Bacteria live everywhere, both inside and outside our bodies. Some are good for you and some can make you sick.

Nutrients: Chemical compounds in foods that our bodies use to stay healthy and function well.

Questions and Answers

Question: How can I keep my large intestine healthy?

Answer: We can keep our large intestines healthy by eating a high fiber diet including lots of vegetables, drinking lots of water, not eating too much red meat, and getting plenty of exercise.

Watch a video about dietary fiber and poop.