Summary: Your gastrointestinal (GI) tract performs the vital function of digestion, enabling you to get nutrients from food and remove waste from your body.

To help break down and utilize the food you eat, your body has a highly functional system known as the digestive tract or gastrointestinal (GI) tract. At GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, we focus on the health and maintenance of this vital body system. Our aim is to help you gain a greater understanding of your digestive health, and our physicians specialize in a wide variety of digestive diseases and conditions. If you’re seeking a GI specialist in Jackson, MS, then our practice can connect you with a digestive health expert to meet your needs. Read on to find out more about the digestive system and the role it plays in your health.

What is the digestive system?

Your GI tract consists of a collection of linked organs that carry and digest the food items you consume. Thanks to chemical and mechanical digestive factors, these parts of the body reduce food into its most basic components so that your body may take in the nutrients it relies on and dispose of the remaining waste products. The intestinal system consists of hollow organs, including the esophagus, stomach, small bowel, and large bowel, that hold and move nutrients through your body. Also considered part of the digestive tract are the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder. These organs hold and generate digestive enzymes and juices, along with other functions.

What are the components of the GI tract?

The different components that comprise the intestinal tract all work collectively to perform the important job of digesting food. In order of function, the organs of the digestive tract include:

  • Oral Cavity: The first part of the digestive tract, the mouth is where mechanical and chemical digestion begin. We mechanically reduce food into smaller particles by chewing, and the saliva begins the chemical aspect of the digestive process.
  • Esophagus: After food has been reduced into smaller bites, it finds its way to the stomach via the esophagus. The esophagus makes a series of muscular contractions as we swallow, moving food to the next stage of digestion.
  • Stomach: The stomach is a chamber found in the upper part of the abdomen, which is where food is held and mixed with enzymes and acid that continue the chemical digestive process.
  • Pancreas: Your pancreas creates enzymes that process fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, and produces insulin, which is a hormone that helps your body process sugar.
  • Gallbladder: The important digestive chemical referred to as bile is housed in the gallbladder.
  • Liver: The liver carries out several digestive functions, including producing bile and reducing toxins.
  • Small Intestine: The small bowel completes the process of digesting proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, and the broken-down nutrients are taken up into the bloodstream.
  • Large Intestine/Colon/Appendix: In the large intestine, fluids are removed from processed food and the remaining substances are prepared to evacuate the body in the form of stool.
  • Rectum: The rectum is an organ located at the end of the large bowel that holds stool until it is eliminated.
  • Anus: Positioned at the very end of the GI tract, the anus is made up of sphincter muscles that assist in managing the emptying of solid waste.

A practitioner who detects, treats, and helps manage diseases of the GI tract is called a gastroenterologist or GI physician. Patients can connect with a gastrointestinal specialist in Jackson, MS through GI Associates & Endoscopy Center, a physician-led group of board-certified experts.

What makes the intestinal system so essential?

The components that make up the gastrointestinal system work to help the body process and utilize important nourishment from the food you eat. This nourishment is then transformed to provide you with energy, aid in growth, and repair cells throughout the body. Remnants of food remaining after digestion are then disposed of as waste or stool. Should you be affected by intestinal diseases, your ability to process food and evacuate stool may be impeded, which can affect your overall health and wellness.

How can I locate a gastroenterologist in Jackson, MS?

When you’re having concerning issues with your GI health, like chronic heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, bloody stools, or abdominal distress, we urge you to visit a GI specialist at GI Associates & Endoscopy Center. Our physicians in Jackson, MS aim to place the needs of our patients first, incorporating cutting-edge technologies and treatments to help improve your GI health. In the event you experience any symptoms, need a colonoscopy, or want to learn more about how to protect your GI health, visit GI Associates & Endoscopy Center for the individualized care you need.

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