Human Esophagus – Functions, diseases, anatomy of Esophagus

The esophagus, is an organ in human which consists of a muscular tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach. In an adult, the esophagus is about 25 centimeters (10 inches) long.

Food is passed through the esophagus by using the process of peristalsis. Specifically, it connects the pharynx, which is the body cavity that is common to the digestive factory and respiratory system, with the stomach, where the second stage of digestion is initiated.

Human Esophagus

The esophagus is deeply lined with muscle that acts with peristaltic action to move swallowed food down to the stomach. Due to the fact that the esophagus lacks the mucus lining like that of the stomach, it can get irritated by stomach acid that passes the cardiac sphincter.

The most common problem with the esophagus is gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It happens when a band of muscle at the end of your esophagus does not close properly. This allows stomach contents to leak back, or reflux into, into the esophagus and irritate it. Over time, GERD can cause damage to the esophagus. Other problems include heartburn and cancer.

Treatment depends on the problem. Some get better with over-the-counter medicines or changes in diet. Others may need prescription medicines or surgery.

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