Anatomic Problems of the Lower GI Tract
What are anatomic problems of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract?
Anatomic problems of the lower GI tract are structural defects. Anatomic problems that develop before birth are known as congenital abnormalities. Other anatomic problems may occur any time after birth—from infancy into adulthood.
The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The movement of muscles in the GI tract, along with the release of hormones and enzymes, allows for the digestion of food. Organs that make up the GI tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the appendix, cecum, colon, and rectum—and anus. The intestines are sometimes called the bowel. The last part of the GI tract—called the lower GI tract—consists of the large intestine and anus.
The large intestine is about 5 feet long in adults and absorbs water and any remaining nutrients from partially digested food passed from the small intestine. The large intestine then changes waste from liquid to a solid matter called stool. Stool passes from the colon to the rectum. The rectum is 6 to 8 inches long in adults and is located between the last part of the colon—called the sigmoid colon—and the anus. The rectum stores stool prior to a bowel movement. During a bowel movement, the muscles of the rectal wall contract to move stool from the rectum to the anus, a 1-inch-long opening through which stool leaves the body.
The lower GI tract
Anatomic problems of the lower GI tract may involve parts of organs being in the wrong place, shaped abnormally, or incorrectly connected to other organs. Anatomic problems that affect the large intestine or anus include
- imperforate anus
- colonic atresia
If you have any questions or wish to schedule an appointment, please do not hesitate to call the office at (706) 548-0058. Remember that we usually require that you see a primary care physician (your family doctor or PCP) before we can schedule you. If you are having a medical emergency, get medical attention immediately at your nearest healthcare provider:
Athens Regional Medical Center: (706) 475-7000
St. Mary's Hospital: (706) 354-3000
This informational material is taken from the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources.
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