Overview

The digestive tract (also called the gastrointestinal tract) is a part of the gastrointestinal system, which provides mechanical and chemical processing of food, absorption of nutrients, and excretion of the undigested remains.

The digestive system takes a huge place in the human body, and it is located in the head, neck, thoracic and abdominal cavities, as well as in the pelvis. It starts with the mouth and ends with the anus.

The length of a human gastrointestinal tract varies, but it is about eight to ten meters long, and it includes the following structures:

  • Oral cavity with its parts (oral vestibule and oral cavity proper)
  • Pharynx
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small intestine
  • Large intestine

The small and large intestines are formed by several anatomical parts.

The small intestine consists of three parts:

  • Duodenum
  • Jejunum
  • Ileum

Parts of the large intestine are:

  • Cecum and vermiform appendix
  • Ascending colon
  • Transverse colon
  • Descending colon
  • Sigmoid colon
  • Rectum and anal canal

The oral vestibule is formed by lips, cheeks, gums, and teeth, while the oral cavity proper - by the soft and hard palate, tongue, and salivary glands.

In addition, the digestive system consists not only of the gastrointestinal tract but also of several accessory organs helping in the digestion process. 

The accessory organs include the following structures: