How does the intestine work?
The intestine (bowel) is a winding muscular tube extending from the stomach to the anus. Its main purpose is to digest food. But the intestine is not only there for digestion: it also produces various substances that carry messages to other parts of the body, and plays an important role in fighting germs and regulating the body’s water balance. There is a particularly high number of nerve cells in the wall of the intestine. For some people, the intestine reflects how they are feeling: for instance, they might get a stomach ache, diarrhea or constipation when they are stressed or upset about something.
The small intestine, which is directly connected to the stomach, is 3 to 5 meters long end-to-end. It is made up of three sections known as the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The inside wall of the small intestine has folds in it, like the body of an accordion. This makes the surface area very big.