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
The digestive system helps the body break down food, so nutrients can be used for cell repair, growth and energy. The digestive system is also responsible for storing and excreting solid wastes.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 stomach is the primary organ that breaks down food as it enters the digestive system. This organ receives food from the esophagus and eventually directs the partially digested food into the small intestine. It also helps kill harmful bacteria.Full Answer >