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what organs are in the digestive system
digestive system or respiratory system organ
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Food passes through a long tube inside the body known as the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract). The alimentary canal is made up of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, stomach, small intestines, and large intestines. In addition to the alimentary canal, there are several important accessory organs that help your body to digest food
The major parts of the digestive system:
- Salivary glands
- Small Intestine
- Large Intestine
Accessory digestive organs:
liver, gallbladder, pancreas
Food begins its journey through the digestive system in the mouth, also known as the oral cavity. Inside the mouth are many accessory organs that aid in the digestion of food—the tongue, teeth, and salivary glands. Teeth chop food into small pieces, which are moistened by saliva before the tongue and other muscles push the food into the pharynx.
- Teeth. The teeth are 32 small, hard organs found along the anterior and lateral edges of the mouth. Each tooth is made of a bone-like substance called dentin and covered in a layer of enamel—the hardest substance in the body. Teeth are living organs and contain blood vessels and nerves under the dentin in a soft region known as the pulp. The teeth are designed for cutting and grinding food into smaller pieces.
- Tongue. The tongue is located on the inferior portion of the mouth just posterior and medial to the teeth. It is a small organ made up of several pairs of muscles covered in a thin, bumpy, skin-like layer. The outside of the tongue contains many rough papillae for gripping food as it is moved by the tongue’s muscles. The taste buds on the surface of the tongue detect taste molecules in food and connect to nerves in the tongue to send taste information to the brain. The tongue also helps to push food toward the posterior part of the mouth for swallowing.
- Salivary Glands. Surrounding the mouth are 3 sets of salivary glands. The salivary glands are accessory organs that produce a watery secretion known as saliva. Saliva helps to moisten food and begins the digestion of carbohydrates. The body also uses saliva to lubricate food as it passes through the mouth, pharynx, and esophagus.
The pharynx, or throat, is a funnel-shaped tube connected to the posterior end of the mouth. The pharynx is responsible for the passing of masses of chewed
Your digestive system is uniquely constructed to perform its specialized function of turning food into the energy you need to survive and packaging the residue for waste disposal.
- store food
- initiate digestion of proteins
- kill bacteria with the strong acidity (low pH of the gastric juice)
- make chyme
Made up of three segments – the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum – the small intestine is a 22-foot long muscular tube that breaks down food using enzymes released by the pancreas and bile from the liver. Peristalsis also is at work in this organ, moving food through and mixing it with digestive secretions from the pancreas and liver. The duodenum is largely responsible for the continuous breaking-down process, with the jejunum and ileum mainly responsible for absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream.
Contents of the small intestine start out semi-solid, and end in a liquid form after passing through the organ. Water, bile, enzymes, and mucous contribute to the change in consistency. Once the nutrients have been absorbed and the leftover-food residue liquid has passed through the small intestine, it then moves on to the large intestine, or colon.
The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes into the duodenum, the first segment of the small intestine. These enzymes break down protein, fats, and carbohydrates. The pancreas also makes insulin, secreting it directly into the bloodstream. Insulin is the chief hormone for metabolizing sugar.
The liver has multiple functions, but its main function within the digestive system is to process the nutrients absorbed from the small intestine. Bile from the liver secreted into the small intestine also plays an important role in digesting fat. In addition, the liver is the body’s chemical “factory.” It takes the raw materials absorbed by the intestine and makes all the various chemicals the body needs to function. The liver also detoxifies potentially harmful chemicals. It breaks down and secretes many drugs.
The gallbladder stores and concentrates bile, and then releases it into the duodenum to help absorb and digest fats.
Colon (large intestine)
The colon is a 6-foot long muscular tube that connects the small intestine to the rectum. The large intestine is made up of the cecum, the ascending (right) colon, the transverse (across) colon, the descending (left) colon, and the sigmoid colon, which connects to the rectum. The appendix is a small tube attached to the cecum. The large intestine is a highly specialized organ that is responsible for processing waste so that emptying the bowels is easy and convenient.
Stool, or waste left over from the digestive process, is passed through the colon by means of peristalsis, first in a liquid state and ultimately in a solid form. As stool passes through the colon, water is removed. Stool is stored in the sigmoid (S-shaped) colon until a “mass movement” empties it into the rectum once or twice a day. It normally takes about 36 hours for stool to get through the colon. The stool itself is mostly food debris and bacteria. These bacteria perform several useful functions, such as synthesizing various vitamins, processing waste products and food particles, and protecting against harmful bacteria. When the descending colon becomes full of stool, or feces, it empties its contents into the rectum to begin the process of elimination.
The rectum (Latin for “straight”) is an 8-inch chamber that connects the colon to the anus. It is the rectum’s job to receive stool from the colon, to let the person know that there is stool to be evacuated, and to hold the stool until evacuation happens. When anything (gas or stool) comes into the rectum, sensors send a message to the brain. The brain then decides if the rectal contents can be released or not. If they can, the sphincters relax and the rectum contracts, disposing its contents. If the contents cannot be disposed, the sphincter contracts and the rectum accommodates so that the sensation temporarily goes away.
The anus is the last part of the digestive tract. It is a 2-inch long canal consisting of the pelvic floor muscles and the two anal sphincters (internal and external). The lining of the upper anus is specialized to detect rectal contents. It lets you know whether the contents are liquid, gas, or solid. The anus is surrounded by sphincter muscles that are important in allowing control of stool. The pelvic floor muscle creates an angle between the rectum and the anus that stops stool from coming out when it is not supposed to. The internal sphincter is always tight, except when stool enters the rectum. It keeps us continent when we are asleep or otherwise unaware of the presence of stool. When we get an urge to go to the bathroom, we rely on our external sphincter to hold the stool until reaching a toilet, where it then relaxes to release the contents.