The Digestive Process – University of Michigan Health System

The Digestive Process – University of Michigan Health System


our digestive system is made up of a series of organs that allows our body to get the nutrients and Energy it needs from the food we eat Digestion starts in the mouth where chewing and Saliva breaks down food, so it is more easily processed by your body Once you swallow the food enters the esophagus Which is a muscular Tube that connects the Pharynx or throat to the stomach? the esophagus contracts as it moves food into the stomach a Valve called the lower esophageal [sphincter] or le s is Located just before the opening to the stomach This valve opens to let food Pass into the stomach from the esophagus And it prevents food from moving back up into the esophagus from the stomach Next is the stomach an organ with strong muscular Walls It holds the food and mixes it with acid and enzymes that continue to break the food down into a liquid or paste Almost 20 feet long the small intestine also called the small bowel is the workhorse of the digestive [system] It will continue to break down food with enzymes released by the pancreas and bile released from the liver It is made up of three segments the duodenum which continues the breakdown of food and the Jejunum and ileum Which are mainly responsible for the absorption of nutrients? Aiding the digestive process is the pancreas among its other functions the pancreas helps digestion by producing digestive enzymes and Secreting them into the duodenum the first segment of the small intestine these enzymes break down protein fats and carbohydrates The liver is another organ with many functions its main responsibilities in the digestive process are to make and secrete bile and To process and purify the blood which contains newly absorbed nutrients that are coming from the small intestine Bile has two main purposes to help absorb fats and to carry waste from the liver that cannot pass through the kidneys bile made in the liver travels to the small intestine through bile ducts if The bile isn’t needed immediately it is stored in the gallbladder Which is a pear-shaped reservoir located [just] under the liver the gallbladder sends this stored bile into the small intestine to aid in the digestion of food Next along the Journey is the colon or [large] intestine It is a five to seven foot long muscular Tube that connects the small intestine to the rectum and is Responsible [for] processing waste so that defecation is easy and convenient the rectum is an eight-inch chamber that connects the colon to the anus [the] rectum receives stool from the colon [sends] signals to the brain if there is stool to be evacuated and holds stool until Evacuation can happen the last part of the digestive tract the anus consists of pelvic floor muscles and two anal Sphincters internal and external Together their jobs are to detect contents in the rectum Determine whether the contents are liquid gas or solid and then control when stool should or shouldn’t be excreted from the body It’s useful to understand the digestive [system], and the role it plays in your overall health and well-being Knowing where to go when conditions of the digestive system affect your health and well-being is just as important The University of Michigan health system is home to one of the largest digestive health and liver disease programs in the country providing prevention diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the gastrointestinal tract and liver

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