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Digestive system

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Digestive System

The energy required for all the processes and activities that take place in our bodies take from the foods we ingest. The digestive system allows us to use food from such diverse sources as meat from an animal and the roots of a plant, and use them as an energy source.

Whether it is the ability to coordinate the chewing of the food without injuring our tongue and lips or the propulsion of the food from the stomach into the duodenum while releasing the appropriate enzymes, our digestive system allows us to manage the process without much thought and often while performing other tasks.


1.   Digestion is important for breaking down food into nutrients, which the body uses for energy, growth, and cell repair.

2.   Digestion works by moving food through the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

3.   Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing and ends in the small intestine.

4.  Molecules of food break down into smaller molecules. The body then absorbs these smaller molecules through the walls of the small intestine into the bloodstream, which delivers them to the rest of the body.

5.   Waste products of digestion pass through the large intestine and out of the body as a solid matter called stool.

6.   The small intestine absorbs most digested food molecules, as well as water and minerals, and passes them on to other parts of the body for storage or further chemical change. Hormone and nerve regulators control the digestive process.

Alimentary tract

Food is ingested and digested, nutrients taken, and indigestible food components are excreted through the digestive system. The six processes that make up this process are listed below.

  • Ingestion
  • Mechanical digesting,
  • Chemical digestion,
  • Absorption
  • Motility
  • Feces

What does the digestive system do?

The digestive system consists of a long tube that travels from your mouth through the pharynx, esophagus, stomach, and small intestine to the colon. The process of digestion converts your food into nutrients that need to function and survive. Your body uses nutrients for energy, growth, and cell repair.

Gastrointestinal system

The mouth, pharynx (throat), esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, rectum, and anus are all part of the gastrointestinal system. The salivary glands, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas, which produce digestive juices and enzymes to aid in the digestion of food and liquids, are also included.

Digestive system organs

Food moves through your GI tract by a process called peristalsis. The large, hollow organs of your GI tract contain a layer of muscle that enables their walls to move. The movement pushes food and liquid through your GI tract and mixes the contents within each organ. The muscle behind the food contracts and squeezes the food forward, while the muscle in front of the food relaxes to allow the food to move.

Mouth function in digestive system

When you eat, food begins to flow through your GI tract. The meal pushes into your throat by your tongue as you swallow. To prevent choking, a little flap of tissue called the epiglottis folds across your windpipe, allowing food to enter into your esophagus.

Esophagus function in digestive system

When you start swallowing, it becomes second nature. Peristalsis begins when your brain sends a signal to the muscles of your esophagus.

Lower esophageal sphincter function in digestive system

When food reaches the end of your esophagus, the lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, allowing food to enter your stomach. This sphincter is generally closed to prevent stomach contents from spilling back into your esophagus.

Stomach function in digestive system

The stomach muscles combine the food and liquid with digestive juices after it reaches the stomach. The contents of your stomach, known as chyme, are gently emptied into your small intestine.

Small intestine function in digestive system

The small intestine muscles combine food with digestive juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine and drive the mixture forward for digestion. The small intestine’s walls absorb water and digested nutrients into the circulation. The waste products of the digestive process go into the large intestine as peristalsis continues.

Large intestine function in digestive system

Waste products from the digestive process include undigested parts of food, fluid, and older cells from the lining of your GI tract. The large intestine absorbs water and changes the waste from a liquid into the stool. Peristalsis helps move the stool into your rectum.

Rectum function in digestive system

The rectum, which is at the bottom of your large intestine, holds stool until it pushes it out of your anus during a bowel movement.

Anus function in digestive system

The last section of the digestive tract is the anus. The pelvic floor muscles and the two anal sphincters connect via a 2-inch canal (internal and external). The upper anus lining has the ability to detect rectal contents. It will tell you if the contents are liquid, gas, or solid.

Sphincter muscles surround the anus, which is vital for controlling stool. The pelvic floor muscle forms an angle between the rectum and the anus, which prevents feces from coming out when they shouldn’t. Except when stool enters the rectum, the internal sphincter is constantly tight. When we are asleep or otherwise, this keeps us continent (prevents us from pooping).

Gallbladder function in digestive system

The gallbladder collects and concentrates bile from the liver before releasing it into the small intestine’s duodenum to aid in the absorption and digestion of lipids.

Pancreas function in digestive system

In the duodenum, the pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that break down protein, lipids, and carbs. The pancreas also produces insulin, which is released into the bloodstream directly. Insulin is the hormone in charge of sugar metabolism in your body.

Liver function in the digestive system

The liver serves a variety of activities in the digestive system, but its primary duty is to process nutrients taken from the small intestine. The liver’s bile, which secretes into the small intestine, aids in the digestion of fats and vitamins.

The liver acts as a chemical “factory” for your body. It converts the raw materials received by the intestine into all of the chemicals your body requires to function. The liver is also responsible for the detoxification of potentially hazardous substances. It degrades and secretes a variety of medications that are potentially harmful to your health.


1. Stomach

With age, the stomach lining’s capacity to resist damage decreases, which in turn may increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease, especially in people who use aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also with age, the stomach cannot accommodate as much food (because of decreased elasticity), and the rate at which the stomach empties food into the small intestine decreases. However, these changes typically do not cause any noticeable symptoms. Aging has little effect on the secretion of stomach juices such as acid and pepsin, but conditions that decrease acid secretion, such as atrophic gastric, become more common.

2. Small intestine

 Aging has only minor effects on the structure of the small intestine, so the movement of contents through the small intestine and absorption of most nutrients do not change much. However, lactase levels decrease, leading to intolerance of dairy products by many older adults (lactose intolerance ). Excessive growth of certain bacteria (bacteria, overgrowth syndrome ) becomes more common with age and can lead to pain, bloating, and weight loss. Bacterial overgrowth may also lead to decreased absorption of certain nutrients, such as vitamin B12, iron, and calcium.

3. Large intestine and rectum

The large intestine does not und1. Stomach: With age, the stomach lining’s capacity to resist damage decreases, which in turn may increase the risk of peptic ulcer disease, especially in people who use aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Also with age, the stomach cannot accommodate as much food (because of decreased elasticity), and the rate at which the stomach empties food into the small intestine decreases. However, these changes typically do not cause any noticeable symptoms. Aging has little effect on the secretion of stomach juices such as acid and pepsin, but conditions that decrease acid secretion, such as atrophic gastric, become more common. ergo much change with age. The rectum does enlarge somewhat. Constipation becomes more common (see constipation in adult: essential for older people ), which is caused by many factors:

1. A slight slowing in the movement of contents through the large intestine.

2.   A modest decrease in the contractions of the rectum when filled with stool.

3.   More frequent use of drugs that can cause constipation. Often less exercise or physical activity.

4. Viral or bacterial infection and parasites

Bacteria, viruses, and parasites can get into the digestive system by means of contact with contaminated surfaces, or contact with infected stools, and then ingesting the germs or from eating infected food or drinking infected water.

5. Structural causes

A structural abnormality in the digestive system (such as the pouches that develop in the intestines of someone with diverticulitis) can hamper the working of the digestive system. An ulcer in the stomach lining or the intestines would be another example, as would be a cancerous tumor.

6. Systemic diseases

Many systemic diseases affect our gastrointestinal systems, such as autoimmune diseases (i.e. scleroderma that affects the motility of the gut), heart failure (the chronic congestion can cause liver cirrhosis), genetic diseases, HIV, and diabetes.

Digestion process

Food is ingested and digested, nutrients are absorbed, and indigestible food components are excreted through the digestive system. Ingestion, motility, mechanical digesting, chemical digestion, absorption, and feces are the six processes involved in this process.

Digestion of food

Food is mixed, moved through the digestive tract, and the large molecules of food are chemically broken down into smaller molecules during digestion. When we chew and swallow, digestion begins in the mouth and ends in the small intestine.

What happens to the digested food?

The small intestine absorbs the majority of the nutrients in your meal, which your circulatory system then distributes to other regions of your body for storage or usage. Special cells assist in the passage of ingested nutrients through the gut mucosa and into the circulation. Simple sugars, amino acids, glycerol, and a few vitamins and minerals carry to the liver by your blood. When nutrients are needed, your liver stores, processes, and delivers them to the rest of your body.

The lymph system NIH external link collects fatty acids and vitamins through a network of capillaries that transport white blood cells and a fluid called lymph throughout your body to fight infection.

Sugars, amino acids, fatty acids, and glycerol are all used by your body to create compounds.

How does my body control the digestive process?

The digestion process is aided by the cooperation of your hormones and neurons. Signals move both inside and outside your GI tract, as well as from your GI tract to your brain.


Cells lining your stomach and small intestine make and release hormones that control how your digestive system works. These hormones tell your body when to produce digestive juices and when to convey hunger or fullness signals to your brain. Your pancreas also makes hormones that are important to digestion.


Nerves connect your central nervous system, which includes your brain and spinal cord, to your digestive system and govern several digestive functions. When you sight or smell food, for example, your brain sends a signal to your salivary glands, which causes your mouth to “water” in preparation for eating.

You also have an enteric nervous system (ENS), which consists of nerves located within the walls of your gastrointestinal tract. When food stretches the walls of your GI tract, your ENS nerves produce a variety of chemicals that speed up or slow down food movement and the creation of digestive juices. The nerves provide signals to your gut muscles, instructing them to contract and relax in order to drive food through your intestines.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

What are some common conditions that affect the digestive system?

The digestive system is affected by both transient circumstances and long-term, or chronic, diseases and disorders. Constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn are among ailments that people experience from time to time. If you’re having trouble with your digestion on a regular basis, make an appointment with your doctor. It could be a symptom of a more serious ailment that necessitates medical attention.

Short-term or temporary conditions that affect the digestive system include:

Constipation: Constipation occurs when you do not poop (have a bowel movement) as regularly as you should. When you’re constipated, your stool is usually dry and hard and passing it is tough and uncomfortable.

Diarrhea: Diarrhea is when you have loose or watery poop. Diarrhea can be caused by many things, including bacteria, but sometimes the cause is unknown

Heartburn: Although it has “heart” in its name, heartburn is actually a digestive issue. Heartburn is an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest that can move up your neck and throat. It happens when acidic digestive juices from your stomach go back up your esophagus.

Hemorrhoids: Hemorrhoids are swelling, bulging veins that develop inside and outside the anus and rectum. They can be unpleasant, painful, and cause rectal bleeding.

Stomach flu (gastroenteritis): Stomach flu is a viral infection that affects the stomach and the upper part of the small intestine. It normally only lasts a week. Every year, millions of individuals experience the stomach flu.

Ulcers: An ulcer is a sore that forms on the esophagus, stomach, or small intestinal lining. The bacteria Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and long-term use of anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen are the most common causes of ulcers.

Gallstones: Gallstones are small pieces of solid material formed from the digestive fluid that forms in your gallbladder, a small organ under your liver.

The following are some of the most common gastrointestinal ailments and disorders:

GERD (chronic acid reflux): GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or chronic acid reflux) is a disorder in which acid-containing contents from your stomach reflux into your esophagus on a regular basis.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): IBS is a condition in which the muscle in your colon contracts more or less frequently than it should. Excess gas, stomach pain, and cramping are common symptoms of IBS.

Lactose intolerance: Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest lactose, a sugar found largely in milk and dairy products.

Diverticulosis and diverticulitis: The conditions diverticulosis and diverticulitis affect the large intestine (also called your colon). Diverticula, which are pockets or bulges that grow in the wall of your colon, is a common feature in both.

Cancer: Gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies are tumors that affect the tissues and organs of the digestive system. GI malignancies come in a variety of forms. Esophageal cancer, gastric (stomach) cancer, colon, and rectal (colorectal) cancer, pancreatic cancer, and liver cancer are the most prevalent cancers of the digestive system.

Crohn’s disease: Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that lasts a lifetime (IBD). The digestive tract is irritated by the illness.

Celiac disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that affects the small intestine. Gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye, causes damage to people with celiac disease.

How can I keep my digestive system healthy?

If you have a medical condition, always ask your healthcare provider what you should do and eat to stay healthy and manage your condition. In general, the following are ways to keep your digestive system healthy

Drink water often: Water helps the food you eat flow more easily through your digestive system. Low amounts of water in your body (dehydration) are a common cause of constipation.

Include fiber in your diet: Fiber aids digestion and promotes regular bowel motions in the body.

Eat a balanced diet: Make it a point to consume several servings of fruits and veggies each day. Whole grains should be preferred over processed grains, and processed foods should be avoided in general. Limit all deli (processed) meats and favor chicken and fish over red meat. Sugar consumption should be kept to a minimum.

Eat foods with probiotics or take probiotic supplements: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that aid in the fight against pathogenic bacteria in the stomach.

Exercise: Physical activity and gravity help move food through your digestive system. Taking a walk, for example, after you eat a meal can help your body digest the food more easily.

Avoid alcohol and smoking: Alcohol can induce heartburn, acid reflux, and stomach ulcers by increasing the quantity of acid in your stomach. Acid reflux is rough twice as likely if you smoke. People who quit smoking and suffer digestive problems have improved symptoms, according to research.

Manage your stress: Stress is associated with digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhea, and IBS.

Consult a doctor

If you’re having frequent symptoms like constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain or cramps, excessive gas (farting), or heartburn, see your doctor. While most individuals have these symptoms now and then, if you have them frequently, it could be a sign of a more serious digestive system problem.


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