I received a bookmark in the post on Friday for the new Australian Government website dedicated to bladder and bowel health www.bladderbowel.gov.au.
The new website is part of the National Continence Management Strategy and builds on the success of the National Toilet map. I love the Toilet Map. There are a number of toilet map initiatives on the web, such as the Bathroom Diaries, and Public Toilets dot org, but the Toilet Map is the only government funded map of its kind. Because it has funding, it’s very comprehensive (although the Find by Points of Interest section didn’t recognise the Sydney Opera House as a location. Hmm….)
The Bladder Bowel website has a wonderful section about ‘what is normal’. Did you know that your small bowel is 6 metres long?? I didn’t even know I had a ‘large’ bowel and a ‘small’ bowel!
How your bowel works
The bowel is the lower part of your food digestive system. It connects your stomach to your back passage, where waste materials (called bowel motions or faeces) are passed out of your body. The job of the bowel is to finish digesting food by taking up water and nutrients.
Your bowel has three linked parts:
- Small bowel – mainly takes up goodness (nutrients) from broken-down food;
- Colon – mainly takes up water as digested food passes through;
- Rectum – stores waste material until it is passed through the back passage.
The small bowel is about 6 metres long. The large bowel, the name for the colon and rectum together, is a tube about 1.5 metres long. The small bowel is called ‘small’ because it is narrower than the large bowel even though it is longer.
Everybody has different bowel habits. Some of us empty our bowel 3 times a day. Others may empty their bowel 3 times a week. Normally each bowel movement should take a minute or so. At the end of a bowel movement you should feel empty.
I like that my bowel connects my stomach to my back passage. I like the idea of having a ‘back passage’. It makes me sound like an Edwardian country house.
Thanks for sending through the bookmark, Stevie! I’ll use it in “Clean and Decent” a book about the history of toilets and bathrooms that I’m currently reading. Review up here soon!