Stomach – Definition, Function and Problems

Stomach – the pouchlike organ that receives and digests food. The stomach can stretch up to six times its resting size to accommodate influxes of food and drink up to about the combined quantity of a gallon. Three layers of muscle wrap around the deeply pitted gastric mucosa (mucous membrane lining of the stomach).

The fibers of each muscle layer run in different directions: the layer innermost to the mucosa is oblique (diagonal), the middle layer of muscle is horizontal (encircles the stomach), and the outermost layer runs lengthwise. This arrangement allows the stomach to flex and contract in every direction to mix and break apart food particles.

Conditions That Can Affect the Stomach

CONDITIONS THAT CAN AFFECT THE STOMACH
bezoarCrohn’s disease
cyclic vomiting syndromedyspepsia
gastritisgastroesophageal reflux disorder (gerd)
gastroparesishiatal hernia
peptic ulcer diseasestomach cancer
zollinger-ellison syndrome

The stomach produces gastric acid, which is primarily hydrochloric acid, and several digestive enzymes. Though the stomach digests carbohydrates and some proteins, its primary role is to prepare food for the small intestine where the bulk of digestion takes place.

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

See also COLON; DIET AND HEALTHDIGESTIVE HORMONES; ESOPHAGUSGASTRECTOMYHELICOBACTER PYLORI; H2 ANTAGONIST (BLOCKER) MEDICATIONSINFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE (IBD)NAUSEA; NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY; PROTON PUMP INHIBITOR (PPI) MEDICATION; VOMITING.

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