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A Project On The Human Esophagus

411 words - 2 pages

EsophagusThe esophagus is in the digestive system .The esophagus is a muscular tube which carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach for digestion after it has been chewed and softened in the mouth. It is about 25 cm long and 2.5 cm across. Food is forced downward to the stomach by powerful wave like muscle contractions passing through the walls of the esophagus. Because these contractions are so strong in the throat and the esophagus, we can swallow in any position -- even upside-down! The esophagus wall contains two muscle ...view middle of the document...

The muscular layers of the esophagus are pinched together at both ends by muscles called sphincters. When a person swallows, the sphincters relax automatically to allow food or drink to pass from the mouth and into the stomach. The muscles then closed rapidly to prevent the swallowed food or drink from leaking out of the stomach back into the esophagus or into the mouth. This is automatic and people are usually not aware of it. Many people have felt their esophagus when they swallow something too large, try to eat too quickly, or drink very hot or very cold liquids. They then feel the movement of the food or drink down the esophagus into the stomach, which may be an uncomfortable feeling. Generally the esophagus is collapsed. It extends to a circular shape only when a bolus of food is in it. When people burp to release swallowed air or gas from pop, the sphincters relax and small amounts of food or drink may come back up for a short time; this condition is called reflux. These rings close or contract after the food passes through and enters the stomach. If the bottom muscle weakens, stomach contents, along with the stomach acid, may return to the esophagus and cause an uncomfortable, burning sensation known as "heartburn".

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