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The large intestine's function is much more complex than forming stool. Water, nutrients, and salts from food to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. The complex symbiotic relationships between bacteria in the large intestine produce vitamins the body needs. The organ is also an essential part of the immune system; its nerves communicate with the brain to influence hormone production, signaling hunger and satiety.

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1. Basic Structure

The large intestine connects to the small intestine at the right side of the abdominal cavity. The last four regions of the intestinal tract -- the cecum, colon, rectum, and anus -- make up this organ. In total, it is five feet of length and a three-inch circumference. The valve between the small intestine and large intestine is called the ileocecal valve. Undigested food mass, known as chyme, passes through the ileocecal valve into the cecum.

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This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.