Difference Between Small Intestine And Large Intestine

The digestive system is a set of organs that are able to process food and whose objective is to break down and become food for the cells of the body. The digestive system consists of different parts and each part performs a fundamental task for the transformation of food. The human digestive system takes typically 2-4 hours. while certain nutrients are fully assimilated after a couple of days of indication by the body. The Digestion process consists of four stages which are listed below:

  • Transportation of food
  • Secretion
  • Absorption – Transform into nutrients
  • Excretion – Nutrition is eliminated from the body.

The bowel/bowels or (intestine) is a winding muscular tube extending from the stomach to the anus. The digestion of food is the main function of the intestine. While the intestine is not only there for digestion. The intestine produces several substances which carry messages to other parts of the body, and plays an important role in fighting germs and regulating the body’s water balance. There are several high numbers of nerve cells in the intestine wall. The intestine is a muscular tube that stretches from the lower end of the stomach to the anus.

Read Also: Digestive system definition and function 

Small Intestine and Large intestine – Overview

The food mixes with gastric juices in the stomach. These gastric juices allow the disintegration of the bolus. In turn, it allows running into the small intestine. The juice and muscle movements turn this bolus into the chyme. In the small intestine, the bile and pancreatic juices intervene. The last part of the digestive tract is known as the large intestine that ends in the rectum. Finally, the remaining food that cannot be digested is eliminated by the anus.

Small Intestine

The small intestine is connected directly to the stomach that is 3 to 5 meters generally tube long tube end to end. Inside the small intestine wall, there are folds in it like the body of an accordion. It makes the surface area large. The key purpose of the small intestine is to complete the digestion of food and absorb nutrients. The small intestine consists of three parts that are known as:

  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum

Small Intestine Function

  • 90% of all digestion and absorption of food happens in the small intestine.
  • The remaining 10% takes place in the large intestine and stomach and is eliminated through the anus.
  • Food after passing through the small intestine enters the large intestine.
  • The small intestine winds around the abdomen which has two types of internal growth; villi and circular folds, that slow down the movement of food.
  • Various Hormones are secreted.

Large Intestine

On the other hand, the large intestine is the final section of the gastrointestinal tract. Its main function is to absorption of water and electrolytes, in addition to converting indigestible matter into feces, which are temporarily stored until the moment of defecation. It starts at the ileocecal junction and is composed of the cecum, vermiform appendix, colon, rectum, and anal canal. The colon is the larger section of the large intestine that is further divided into four segments: ascending, descending, traverse, and sigmoid. These structures are located retroperitoneally. Except for the transverse colon and the sigmoid colon, ascending and descending are intraperitoneal organs.

Large Intestine Function

  • The digestion and absorption of food are the main and basic functions associated with the large intestine.
  • The large intestine must perform the absorption of water from reamed indigestible food and the production of vitamin B and vitamin K.
  • There are no villi or circular folds
  • The rectum is the last part before waste material or feces is removed from the human body through the anal canal.
  • No hormones are secreted.

Difference Between Small Intestine And Large Intestine In Tabular Form

Small Intestine

Large Intestine

It is the largest section of the digestive tract, with a length of about 4.5 to 7 m and a width of about 3.5 to 4.5 cm. The large intestine is the last portion of the digestive tract, which is about 1.5 m long and about 4 to 6 cm wide.
About 90% of all digestion and absorption of food occurs. Its main purpose is to perform the absorption of water from reamed indigestible food and the production of vitamin B and vitamin K from the bacteria that live there.
The small intestine is made up of three parts:

  • duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum.
The large intestine also consists following sections:

  • Cecum
  • Colon
  • Rectum
  • Canal.
There are villi and circular folds in the small intestine. Villi and circular folds are not present in the large intestine.
It has the ability to forms the layer of continuous bands of muscles around it. It reduces to three types of muscles bands and these bands are known as taeniae coli.
Hormones are secreted. No hormones are secreted
The small intestine exhibits small movements in the abdominal cavity It exhibits comparatively less mobility.


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