The Esophagus

The esophagus plays an important role in the digestion system.

The esophagus is an organ that is located in the upper part of the digestive tract and it is connected to the throat, or the pharynx, and then leads to the stomach.

Food Pipe

The esophagus sometimes is called the “food pipe” because this is where food goes when a person eats or drinks.

The length of the esophagus is around 8 inches and when someone eats, a muscle in the esophagus contracts and it helps move the food down towards the stomach.

Relaxing and Contrasting Muscles

When a person swallows, there are muscles on the upper and lower part of the esophagus and these muscles relax and let the food or liquid pass down.

The muscles contract when they aren’t being used so that substances in the stomach cannot make their way up the esophagus.

When liquid food makes its way towards the stomach it goes through the esophagus. The esophagus is very strong, and it can pus the food down.

Most of a person’s saliva goes through the esophagus.

Facts About the Esophagus:

  • The word esophagus means “gullet” in Greek.
  • A person that swallows food helps the food go to the pharynx and then into the esophagus.
  • The pharynx is part of the throat that is located behind the nasal cavity and behind the mouth.
  • Food that leaves from the esophagus goes to the stomach.
  • Saliva helps to break down the food so that it can travel down the esophagus easier.
  • When acid enters back through the esophagus, this is called acid reflux. This can be very painful.
  • It takes around seven seconds for food to go from the esophagus to the stomach.

What Did You Learn?

  • What system is the esophagus part of? The esophagus is part of the digestive system.
  • What is the esophagus? The esophagus is a long tube that goes from the throat to the stomach and carries food to the stomach.
  • What happens when food is chewed and swallowed? Food that is swallowed goes down to the esophagus and the muscles relax so they are not being used and the food can go down easier.
  • How does the esophagus keep food down? The esophagus’ muscles contract when food is not being swallowed so it cannot travel back up the tube.
  • What is the Greek word for esophagus? The Greek word for esophagus is gullet.
  • What breaks down the food so that it can travel easier down the esophagus? Saliva helps break down the food so it can travel easier down the esophagus to the stomach.