Intestine (Bowel)

The intestine (bowel) is the long, winding, tube that is part of the digestive tract. The intestine helps to process food, extract and absorb nutrients and water, and eliminate waste.

The intestine is divided into two main parts: the small intestine and the large intestine.

  • The small intestine (small bowel) receives food from the lower end of the stomach and continues to digest it before passing it into the large intestine.
  • The large intestine (large bowel) absorbs chemicals (such as sodium and chloride), nutrients, and water from the digested food. It also prepares waste (stool) to be expelled from the body. The large intestine is also called the colon.

Last Revised: July 19, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology

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