What You Should Know About the Anatomy of the Digestive System

In order to digest and use the food you consume, your body has a highly functional system referred to as the digestive tract. At Digestive Health Associates of Texas, we specialize in the maintenance and wellness of this critical body system. Our wish is to help you have a deeper understanding of your digestive health, and our doctors treat a broad array of digestive diseases and conditions. If you’re seeking a GI doctor in Dallas, TX, our practice can connect you with digestive health specialists near you. We invite you to read on to discover more about the GI tract and how it helps to maintain your health.

What should I understand about the digestive system?

Your gastrointestinal system consists of a series of linked organs that move and break down the food items you take in. By way of chemical and mechanical digestive factors, these bodily organs reduce food into its most basic components so that your body is able to extract the nutrients it needs and get rid of the leftover waste products. The GI system contains hollow organs, including the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and large bowel, that hold and move food through your body. Also part of the gastrointestinal tract are the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. These components store and produce digestive enzymes and juices, along with carrying out additional processes.

What structures comprise the gastrointestinal tract?

Multiple components in the intestinal system all work congruently to conduct the essential process of digestion. Digestive organs in order of function include:

  • Mouth: The primary entrance to the digestive tract, the mouth is where chemical and mechanical digestion initiate. We mechanically break food down into smaller pieces by chewing, and our saliva begins the chemical aspect of digestive function.

  • Esophagus: Once food has been diminished into manageable pieces, it makes its way to your stomach by moving through the esophagus. The esophagus makes muscular contractions when you swallow, pushing food to the next part of digestion.

  • Stomach: The stomach is a chamber found in the upper part of the abdomen, which is where food is stored and mixed with acid and enzymes that propagate the chemical digestive process.

  • Pancreas: Your pancreas produces enzymes that process proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, and produces insulin, a hormone that helps you metabolize sugar.

  • Gallbladder: The critical digestive chemical referred to as bile is kept within the gallbladder.

  • Liver: The liver performs several digestive processes, including reducing toxins and creating bile.

  • Small Bowel: The small bowel completes the process of breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, and the broken-down nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream.

  • Large Bowel/Colon/Appendix: In the large bowel, water is removed from the processed food and the waste is prepared to exit the body as stool.

  • Rectum: The rectum is a segment located at the end of the colon that holds stool until it is ready to be eliminated.

  • Anus: Found at the very end of the digestive system, the anus is made up of sphincter muscles that help in controlling the evacuation of stool.

A practitioner who diagnoses, treats, and helps manage conditions of the gastrointestinal tract is referred to as a gastroenterologist or GI physician. You and your family can locate a GI specialist in Dallas, TX through Digestive Health Associates of Texas, a physician-led network of board-certified gastroenterologists.

Why is the intestinal tract so vital?

The components that comprise your digestive system help you process and take in essential nutrients from the food you consume. These nutrients are then used to give you energy, aid in growth, and repair cellular components. Remnants of food remaining after digestion are then eliminated from the body in the form of waste or stool. Should you be afflicted by gastrointestinal conditions, your ability to break down food and get rid of stool may be hindered, which can significantly impact your overall health and wellness.

When should you visit a gastroenterologist in Dallas, TX?

In the event you’re having alarming issues with your gastrointestinal system, like lasting heartburn, diarrhea or constipation, blood in your stool, or abdominal discomfort, we urge you to see a gastrointestinal specialist at Digestive Health Associates of Texas. Our team in Dallas, TX strives to prioritize the needs of our patients, using innovative technologies and treatments to help preserve their gastrointestinal health and wellness. Should you experience GI symptoms, need a colonoscopy, or want to learn more about how to maintain your intestinal health, please contact Digestive Health Associates of Texas to schedule a consultation.