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Esophagus - structure and function

The gullet (esophagus) connects the throat to the stomach and is about 25 centimeters long and 2 centimeters in diameter. It is primarily used to transport food from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagus is a flexible tube and can adapt to the shape of the food. Since it is not stretchable in the larynx, in the area of ​​the aorta and when it passes through the diaphragm, large and badly chewed pieces of food can block the esophagus at these points.

The inside of the esophagus is lined with a mucous membrane. This makes the inside particularly slippery. A thin layer of muscle can resize the esophagus so that it conforms to the shape of a chunk of food. So she can z. B. avoid a swallowed fish bone and is not injured. With the help of another muscle wall, the esophagus transports the chyme from the throat to the stomach. A closure mechanism at the upper and lower end of the esophagus, the upper and lower esophageal sphincter, provides the necessary closure to the throat and stomach and thus prevents the backflow of food.

In the area of ​​the lower esophageal sphincter, the esophagus merges into the stomach. This is why this area is often referred to as the stomach mouth.