The digestive system is a set of organs whose fundamental mission is the digestion and absorption of nutrients. To achieve this, it is necessary that a series of phenomena take place along the different parts that constitute it. We must distinguish between the digestive tract itself and the so-called adjoining glands.
The digestive tract is formed by the mouth, the pharynx, the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine and the large intestine or colon. In each of these parts of the digestive tract take place the various events that will allow the digestion and absorption of the ingested food.
Mouth Cavity that opens in the central and lower part of the face and through which food is ingested. Pharynx It communicates with the mouth in the anterior part, and in the posterior part with the larynx, from which it is separated by the epiglottis, and with the esophagus, to which it spills the alimentary bolus. Esophagus A muscular duct 18 to 26 centimeters long that collects the food bolus once the oropharyngeal phase of swallowing is completed. Stomach The stomach is a J-shaped dilation of the digestive tract, which communicates with the esophagus through the cardia, and with the duodenum through the pylorus. Both cardia and pylorus function as a valve that regulates the passage of food. Small intestine Duct 6 to 8 meters long, formed by three sections: Duodenum, separated from the stomach by the pylorus, and which receives bile from the liver and pancreatic juice from the pancreas, followed by the jejunum, and by the final part called the ileum. The ileum communicates with the large intestine or colon through the ileocecal valve. Colon A tubular structure measuring approximately 1.5 m in the adult. It is connected to the small intestine by the ileocecal valve and ends at the anus.
Salivary glands There are three pairs: two parotid glands, one on each side of the head, in front of the external auditory canal; two submaxillary glands, located on the inside of the lower jaw, and two sublingual glands under the tongue. Liver A bulky, dark red gland that produces bile, which is stored in the gallbladder. During meals the gall bladder contracts, causing bile to pass into the duodenum through the common bile duct. The function of bile in the small intestine is to facilitate the digestion of fats.
Pancreas A triangular-shaped gland located immediately below the stomach and in contact with the duodenum, which has a dual function: 1) Exocrine pancreas: produces pancreatic juice containing digestive enzymes (amylase, lipase, and trypsin). The pancreatic juice reaches the duodenum through the duct of Wirsung to participate in the digestion of food. 2) Endocrine pancreas: it manufactures several hormones that are excreted into the blood to carry out essential functions for the organism. The best known is insulin, which regulates the metabolism of sugars.
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