What is the role of Ileum?

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Ileum is the end part of small intestine which is actively involved in the functioning of digestive system. It is placed in between the duodenum and colon and suck up the food that is digested. It is composed of muscular walls which enable the mixing and pushing of the food forward during the contraction or peristalsis process. The absorption surface area is enhanced by the innumerable villi, which are the finger like projections located internally to this muscular wall. The ileum receives good blood supply  while passing by the walls  and receive food molecules which are further transported to liver through hepatic portal vein.


What is the role of Ileum in digestive system?

The ileum is the end point of small intestine and extends into large intestine. It measures around 2 to4 m in length. Jejunum and ileum both have the presence of villi on their muscular walls which give them extra surface area due which enhances the scope of absorption of nutrients . Digestive system’s final process is completed here during which the liquid and food particles are broken into nutritional components like:

  • Tiny molecules of carbohydrates are broken into glucose, proteins are broken down into amino acids, and fats are broken down to form fatty acids and cholesterol
  • Vitamins
  • Salts
  • Minerals
  • Water

When this digestive blend moves through ileum of small intestine, the nutrients are absorbed by villi and transferred them to blood stream and liver. Fibers though remain undigested along with water and some vitamins which are further broken down when they reach large intestine.


What is ileocecal valve?

The ileum is also known to absorb bile salts and other bile components apart from off course fats. Ileum pores are bigger than those in jejunum and hence vitamin B12, vitamins immersed in fatty liquids, bile salts, water, and electrolytes are sucked up by them with efficiency. The place where the ileum meets large intestine a valve is located to stop the material back flow into the small intestine. This is termed as ileocecal valve. The material passing the valve is pasty in nature by the time it reaches ileocecal valve.


What are the diseases related to small intestine?

  • Ileum is an integral functioning part of small intestine and any diseases related to it affect the ileum as well. Some of these diseases are minor and need usual treatment while some diseases are grave and can prove fatal.
  • Microbial infection in small intestine has been known to cause various small intestinal diseases and can abrupt its proper functioning
  • Tumor or hernia can cause blockage in small intestine and can halter the digested food movement from small intestine into the large intestine
  • Small intestine inflammation has been known to obstruct the function of ileum and disrupts the regular process of digestion and also causes severe You do not have access to view this node and discomfort to the patient suffering from it
  • Ileum in rare cases gets affected by cancer due to presence of wastes in the food or if the food particles that are undigested are left in ileum for longer duration
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