The esophagus is a long, muscular tube that connects an animal’s stomach to its mouth. Distinct from the windpipe, which transports air into and out of the lungs, the esophagus usually carries food and water from the mouth to the stomach. However, during vomiting, the esophagus carries stomach acids and undigested food from the stomach back out through the mouth. The esophagus is about 1 inch in diameter, and approximately 10 to 14 inches in length.Know More
The esophagus has two muscular control points, called sphincters. Similar to sphincters in other portions of the body, when the muscles in the sphincter contract, they prevent liquids from passing through. The esophagus features two sphincters, one at each end. The upper esophageal sphincter is involved in swallowing and breathing and is usually under an animal’s conscious control. By contrast, the lower esophageal sphincter, which prevents stomach acids or food from travelling back up the esophagus, is not usually under direct, voluntary control.
If the lower esophageal sphincter does not close completely or sufficiently, a condition called acid-reflux may occur, in which stomach acid travels back up into the esophagus. This can cause destruction to the esophagus, and if left untreated, can cause esophageal cancer.Learn more about Organs
Encyclopaedia Britannica explains that most of the water that a person drinks is absorbed in the intestines; however, many sources disagree about which part of the intestines is most responsible for water absorption. Two different parts of the small intestine are important for absorbing water although the large intestine also removes any water that remains once the digested food reaches the end of the digestive tract.Full Answer >
The function of the pharynx is to transfer food from the mouth to the esophagus and to warm, moisten and filter air before it moves into the trachea. The pharynx is a part of both the digestive and respiratory systems.Full Answer >
The human digestive tract starts at the mouth and ends at the rectum. In between, food and drink pass through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine and colon. In addition, other organs aid digestion, including the pancreas, liver and gallbladder.Full Answer >
The digestive system maintains homeostasis by creating the proper pH balance in the gastric environment. In addition, by maintaining the correct enzyme ratio, the digestive system nurtures beneficial bacteria that inhibit disease and produce biological substances the body needs such as vitamin K.Full Answer >