Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Gastroenteritis Viral Anatomy

To better understand viral gastroenteritis, it helps to understand the anatomy of the intestines.

The intestine is a long, continuous, tube inside the body. It lets the body absorb nutrients from food and liquids. The intestine is about 22 feet long. It includes the large intestine (colon) and the small intestine.

The small intestine has three parts:

  • Duodenum:
    • Connects to the stomach
  • Jejunum:
    • Middle portion of the small intestine
  • Ileum:
    • Lower portion of the small intestine that connects to the cecum (first part of the large intestine)

The large intestine is also known as the colon. It is the last portion of the intestine.

The colon has several parts, including:
  • Cecum:
    • The portion of the colon that connects to the ileum (small intestine). The appendix is a finger-like pouch that comes off of the cecum.
  • Ascending colon:
    • The first section after the small intestine, located on the right side
  • Transverse colon:
    • Sits horizontally across the upper abdomen
  • Descending colon:
    • Located on the left side of the abdomen
  • Sigmoid:
    • A short, S-shaped section above the rectum
  • Rectum:
    • The lowest internal part of the colon

Intestinal anatomy:
  • Entire gastrointestinal tract
  • Intestines and other abdominal organs
  • Blood vessels of the intestines
  • The appendix is a small pouch that protrudes from the wall of the large intestine. It is located at the point where the small intestine turns into the large intestine.

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Gastroenteritis Viral References
  1. Beller M, Ellis A, Lee SH, Drebot MA, Jenkerson SA, Funk E, Sobsey MD, Simmons OD 3rd, Monroe SS, Ando T, Noel J, Petric M, Middaugh JP, Spika JS. Outbreak of viral gastroenteritis due to a contaminated well. International consequences. JAMA. 1997 Aug 20;278(7):563-8. [9268277]
  2. Clark B, McKendrick M. A review of viral gastroenteritis. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2004 Oct;17(5):461-9. [15353966]
  3. Koopmans M. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis: what's new in 2004? Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2005 Aug;18(4):295-9. [15985824]
  4. Lopman BA, Reacher MH, Van Duijnhoven Y, Hanon FX, Brown D, Koopmans M. Viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in Europe, 1995-2000. Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Jan;9(1):90-6. [12533287]
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