Internal organs

The gastrointestinal tract / digestive tract


The digestive tract is formed by all organs that are used for food intake, comminution, transport and absorption of food. Strictly speaking, this also includes the oral cavity and mouthparts, but the term digestive tract in general parlance is often only used to refer to the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract). According to the medical definition, this includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and anus. Overall, the digestive system is a sensitive system that can be easily unbalanced by various influences, such as an unhealthy diet, stress, infections or the use of certain medications. The consequences range from disorders of the natural intestinal flora (useful bacterial colonization of the intestine) and indigestion to inflammation of the mucous membranes in the stomach and intestinal area to acute emergency events such as an intestinal obstruction.

The spectrum of possible diseases of the digestive tract is extremely broad overall, which often makes diagnosis extremely difficult. In the case of digestive complaints such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, the possible causes of the symptoms are checked successively. Bacterial or parasitic infections, for example, can be identified relatively easily. Here, the examination of a stool sample is often enough to diagnose it. However, other diseases of the digestive tract, such as Crohn's disease, are more difficult to determine, so that those affected often remain without a clear diagnosis for a long time. In addition, diseases of other internal organs can lead to complaints that are similar to gastrointestinal problems, which makes diagnosis even more difficult. (fp)

Gastrointestinal tract

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Author and source information


Video: 10- The development of the gastrointestinal tract (October 2021).