MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link
Quick Facts

Esophagus

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision May 2021| Content last modified May 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Get the full details
Topic Resources

Your digestive tract (also called the gastrointestinal or GI tract) is the hollow tube that food goes through when you swallow it, digest it, and then pass the waste products as stool.

What is the esophagus?

The esophagus is part of your digestive tract. It is the "food pipe" that connects your throat and your stomach. Food and liquids don't just slide down your esophagus by gravity. Your esophagus is lined with muscles that push food and liquids down.

Other muscles go around the upper and lower ends of your esophagus like rings. These muscles, also called sphincters, close off the esophagus so your stomach contents can't flow back into your esophagus or throat.

How the Esophagus Works

As a person swallows, food moves from the mouth to the throat, also called the pharynx (1). The upper esophageal sphincter opens (2) so that food can enter the esophagus, where waves of muscular contractions, called peristalsis, propel the food downward (3). The food then passes through the lower esophageal sphincter (4) and moves into the stomach (5).

How the Esophagus Works
NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION
Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Permanent Contraception
Permanent contraception in women involves disrupting or removing the fallopian tubes, which carry the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. There are several methods used. What is the name of the method in which the doctor makes a small incision, inserts a thin viewing tube, and then works through the tube to remove, disrupt, or seal off the fallopian tubes?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP