Esophagus - function, disorders and problems

Esophagus - function, disorders and problems

Esophagus - the muscular tube that extends from the back of the THROAT to the top of the STOMACH. From 10 to 12 inches long, the esophagus carries ingested food and fluids to the stomach to begin the process of digestion. As the esophagus leaves the throat its MUSCLE tissue is primarily striated (voluntary); as the esophagus enters the stomach its muscle tissue is smooth (involuntary). Though a person can control the initiation of swallowing, the processes that propel food down the esophagus and into the stomach are involuntary.

Common Conditions Affecting the Esophagus
ACHALASIA BARRETT’S ESOPHAGUS
DIVERTICULAR DISEASE DYSPEPSIA
ESOPHAGEAL ATRESIA ESOPHAGEAL CANCER
ESOPHAGEAL SPASM ESOPHAGEAL VARICES
ESOPHAGITIS GASTROESOPHAGEAL REFLUX DISORDER (GERD)

For further discussion of the esophagus within the context of gastrointestinal structure and function, please see the overview section “The Gastrointestinal System.”

See also ANUS; CECUM; COLON; DUODENUM; ILEUM; JEJUNUM; RECTUM.

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The Gastrointestinal System

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