How Long Are Your Intestines?

Have you ever thought about some questions about intestines? How long are your intestines? What are their functions? Intestines are the muscular tubes, extending from the stomach to the anus. These are parts of digestive system specialized for digestion and absorption of the food. Intestines are divided into two basic types: small and large intestines.

How Long Are Your Intestines?

When food is taken, it goes through the digestive system so that the body can absorb nutrients from it. The digestive system starts from the mouth and is followed by pharynx, esophagus, stomach and intestines, which are divided into two sections that have been mentioned above. Generally, the answer of the question “how long are your intestines?” is 7.5 to 8.5 meters (25 to 28 feet). Keep reading to find the detailed information about it.

1.     Small Intestine

The small intestine is a muscular tube about 6 to 7 meters (20-23 ft) in length. The average length of small intestine in adult males is 6.9 m (22 ft 8 in), and 7.1 m (23 ft 4 in) in adult females. However, it can vary from the shortest length of 4.6 m (15 ft) to the longest length of 9.8 m (32 ft). The diameter of small intestine is approximately 2.5–3 cm. The surface area of the small intestinal mucosa on average is 30 m².

The small intestine is made up of three segments, which form a passage from the stomach to the large intestine:

  • ŸDuodenum: It is the first part of small intestine. It takes the semi digested food from the stomach and digests it further. It receives secretions from the pancreas through pancreatic duct and from the bile via common bile duct. Pancreatic enzymes help in digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and lipids, while bile salts perform emulsification of lipids. On average, it is 26 cm.
  • ŸJejunum: It is the middle part of the small intestine and carries food through rapidly with wave like muscular contractions called peristalsis. It also helps in further chemical digestion of food. On average, it is 2.5 m.
  • ŸIleum: The last part of the small intestine is the ileum, which is covered by the villi to help absorb maximum digested food through it. Ileum directly absorbs the digested carbohydrates and proteins, while the digested fats are taken through the lacteals which drain into the lymphatic system. On average, it is 3.5 m.

By the time the food enters the small intestine from the stomach, it is already converted into the semi fluid state called chyme. The small intestine receives between one and three gallons (6 to 12 liters) of this fluid on daily basis. The intestinal walls also produce the digestive juices containing enzymes along with liver and pancreatic digestive secretions to digest almost all parts of the food. 

You can get a better understanding of small intestine by watching the video below if interested:

2.     Large intestine

Large intestine is wider than the small intestine but shorter than it. You will be curious about how long are your intestines? Then you must know"What is the length of the large intestine".The length of the large intestine is approximately 1.5 m (5 ft) and the diameter is 2.5 inches (6 to 7 cm), but it can become larger postmortem due to relaxing of smooth muscles. Large intestine is generally of 1.55 m length in women and 1.66 m in men.

The main job of the large intestine is to absorb water and salts. As the main part of absorption is already done by small intestine, the large intestine absorbs the remaining fibers (digested late) and undigested particles. It provides a passageway for the waste products like dead cells of GIT, undigested food materials, excessive salts, bile pigments (provide color to feces) and bacteria to be expelled out of the body. The helpful bacteria present in the form of fauna of the intestine also help in digestion and absorption of certain food materials. The usage of antibiotics kills these helpful bacteria, so the usage of curd is usually advised while using the antibiotic treatment. Large intestine consists of the following parts.

  • ŸCecum: It is the first part of large intestine and also the junction between small and large intestine. Its length is about 2 inches. Appendix is also attached to it, which in inflamed conditions is known as appendicitis.
  • ŸColon: This is a major portion of large intestine that consists of four parts, i.e., ascending colon, transverse colon, descending colon and sigmoid colon. On average, ascending colon is about 15 cm - 20 cm; transverse colon is 30 cm – 60 cm; descending colon is 20 cm – 25 cm; and sigmoid colon is 40 cm.

Get more info about large intestines from:

Do You Know These Human Body Facts?

Human body is a mysterious collection of the interesting facts. Here are some interesting facts:

  • If all the veins, arteries and capillaries are joined together from end to end, then their combined length would be 60,000 miles or 100,000 km.
  • Food moves from mouth to the stomach via esophagus in just 7 seconds.
  • Approximately 80-90% of the taste perceptions are actually due to the sense of smell.
  • Human hairs grow about 6 mm per month and continue to grow for 6 years. Then old hairs fall and are replaced by new ones.
  • Human heart beats about 35 million times in a year. It would beat about 2.5 billion times in an average life span.
  • Human tongue has about 3,000 taste buds on it. We have 5 types of taste receptors for detection of following tastes: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and umami.

Interesting? Click HERE to get more fun facts.