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.