Exploring the Human Body – The digestive system
Your digestive system is made up of a series of hollow organs that connect to form a digestive tract that goes from the mouth to the anus.
Food digestion starts in your mouth and then goes through your esophagus (1), stomach (2), small intestine (3), large intestine (4), colon (5), and rectum (6). Two other organs, the liver (7) and the pancreas (8), contribute important digestive juices.
The purpose of your digestive system is to break down the foods you eat into molecules tiny enough to be absorbed by your circulatory system. These molecules can then supply your body with nutrients and energy.
The upper parts of the system concentrate on digestion and the lower parts on waste removal. Waste from undigestible parts of food moves through the large intestine into the rectum and is then eliminated as a bowel movement.
Digestive System Conditions
Common digestive system problems include indigestion, constipation, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Almost everyone has experienced these conditions at some point, and they are not usually serious.
Possibly more serious are infections of the digestive system caused by contaminated food that result in more serious types of diarrhea and vomiting. Appendicitis is a colon infection that is common in children and may require surgery.
Helicobacter pylori is a bacterial infection that can cause a peptic ulcer. Less common inflammatory conditions of the digestive system include ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Cancers of the digestive tract include esophageal cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, rectal cancer, and anal cancer.
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