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What is the colon transit study?

The intestines are divided into two types: the small intestine, where digestion takes place and the large intestine where the stools are processed, formed and stored. The large intestine is called as ‘colon’. 

The colon is approximately a meter in length. The time taken for the colon to receive the remnant of the digested particles from the small intestine and expel them outside is called as the ‘colon transit’. The colon transit time is longer in patients with constipation and shorter in patients with diarrhea. The colon transit time is also shorter in Indian patients (approx. 16 hours) as compared to West (approx. 30-40 hours).

This measurement of colonic transit helps to differentiate a ‘slow colon transit constipation’ from a ‘normal colon transit constipation’ as the treatment is different for both conditions

Test: It involves taking 4 capsules three times at regular intervals. Each capsule contains foodgrade pellets which are not absorbed. They are visualised in the colon on an x-ray which is done at a pre-determined interval. 

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