The digestion is the elementary process for every human being, which begins with eating and ends with a bowel movement. In between, the food is broken down and thus energy and substances important for the cells are obtained. Digestive disorders range from heartburn and stomach pain to diarrhea and vomiting and should always be taken seriously.
The chemical breakdown of food occurs through digestive enzymes, which are located in the digestive tract.
The term digestion refers to the physical crushing as well as the chemical splitting of food into its components. It is only through digestion that the compounds in the food such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates are made accessible to the body so that they can ultimately reach the individual cells through the bloodstream.
The chemical breakdown of food occurs through digestive enzymes, which are located in the digestive tract. On the one hand, energy is gained through the enzymatic breakdown of food, and on the other hand, these molecules are used by the body's cells to build up other substances that are important for the organism. A healthy digestive tract is essential so that the human body can receive adequate nutrients.
With a balanced diet, everyone can contribute something to their own intestinal health and thus ensure that the body is able to use the food ingested in the best possible way. In addition to generating energy and absorbing nutrients, digestion is also responsible for eliminating metabolic products that are no longer needed or even harmful.
The human digestion takes place in the digestive tract and is catalyzed by special digestive enzymes. The first stop in digestion is the mouth. With the help of the lips, tongue and teeth, the food is ingested and then mechanically crushed.
If the food is sufficiently small, it is transported through the pharynx through the esophagus into the stomach. This transport is only possible because the food is first provided with saliva and thus becomes able to slide. In humans, saliva is made in the salivary glands and contains ptyalin, the first digestive enzyme that ingested food comes into contact with. Muscle contractions in the esophagus press the saliva into the stomach.
The stomach collects the pulp and, depending on how full it is, has the shape of a tube or a sack. When there is food in the stomach, special cells on the stomach lining produce stomach acid. It is hydrochloric acid with special enzymes that are used to break down proteins or to kill pathogens such as bacteria in the food unspecifically.
The gastric contents are emptied into the subsequent small intestine slowly and in portions. Before the food can penetrate further into the intestine, the hydrochloric acid is neutralized.
In the small intestine, the various food components are absorbed. The nutrients broken down into molecules can now be absorbed into the blood through the villi of the small intestine. Before the chyme is transported further into the colon, water is withdrawn. Movement of the smooth muscles leads to further transport into the large intestine. The contents of the intestine are thickened there by dehydration.
In humans, the large intestine ends in the rectum, which ends with the anus. This is where the stool settles as the last digestive process.
The term digestive disorders encompasses all diseases that are associated with functional disorders of the digestive tract. Among the most common complaints related to the digestion heard of diarrhea; this leads to thin stools several times a day.
Most pathogens that have entered the body are responsible for diarrhea. Constipation, which leads to painful and hard stools, is also very common. In the development of constipation, diet often plays an essential role; the intestines become sluggish over time if the diet contains too little fiber, which in turn means that the stool is not passed often enough and it thickens more and more.
Vomiting is also a typical digestive disorder, in which pathogens or food that is not tolerated cause the contents of the stomach to be emptied through the mouth. In addition to these complaints, there are chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, which lead to severe, recurring digestive disorders. Digestive disorders can be triggered by inflammation of the digestive organs, bacterial or viral infections, gallstones, chronic inflammatory diseases or cancer.