Siamak Tabib (Gastroenterologist, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA) gives expert video advice on: What organs make up the digestive system? and more...
What is "gastroenterology"?
Gastroenterology is the study of the digestive system, of the digestive tract. The digestive system is comprised of a lot of different organs that work in concert that deal with anywhere from absorption of food and breakdown of food, to release of waste products, as well as detoxification of the body and everything else in between. So, the organs that comprise the digestive system basically start with the mouth and the oesophagus, otherwise known as the food pipe, and going down along that route are the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine. Along the way there are other organs such as the pancreas, the liver, and the gallbladder that all work in coherence with one another to make the digestive process happen.
What organs make up the digestive system?
The organs that make up the digestive system start from the mouth and the salivary glands. The digestive system continues in the esophagus or the food pipe, then we have the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, the liver, the pancreas and the gallbladder.
How do these organs work together to help me digest food?
These organs work together to aid the process of digestion from your first bite of food in your mouth to the time that it comes out as a bowel movement. When we chew food, there is salivary glands, and secrete digestive enzymes to help start the breakdown of starch and the protein in some of the foods that we eat. As the food is swallowed, it goes down the aesophegus, and down the food pipe where it is propelled down in a very regulated fashion into the stomach. In the stomach, there are digestive juices or namely acid that is produced that helps break down these food products into much smaller pieces. Once food reaches the small intestine, it triggers more digestive enzymes from the pancreas known as pancreatic enzyme, and also bile which will initially aid and deliver gall bladder. The small intestine is where the actual absorption of food and nutrients take place. The Small intestine is approximately 50 to 200 feet long, and we need that long surface area in order to be able to absorb all the nutrients from the food that we are eating. Once all the nutrients that are needed are absorbed through the small intestine, what is left as waste product is then moved onto the large intestine. The large intestine is primarily responsible for dehydrating the waste products, absorbing water back into the system so we don't get dehydrated, and forms the contents of the large intestine namely stool, which are then propelled down in a very similar fashion as the upper and the middle digestive tract and out when we have a bowel movement.