Digestive System

What is the digestive system?

The digestive system (gastrointestinal tract) starts in the mouth and ends at the anal opening. It includes the esophagus, small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum), colon, and rectum.

In the duodenum, bile salts and pancreatic juices are added, which help to digest fat and protein. In the jejunum and ileum most of the nutrients and vitamins are absorbed including vitamin B12. The colon’s job is to reabsorb water, retain minerals and to prepare the left over, leached out material to become stool. The rectum is the last storage chamber and water is re-absorbed from the stool, which is expelled as a bowel movement from time to time. The stool gets its final shape from the anal canal.

Three important organs are connected to the digestive system: the gall bladder, the pancreas and the liver.

What diseases or conditions affect the digestive system?

The digestive system can be affected by the following diseases and conditions:

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