The stomach is a digestive organ that almost all animals have. He is directly involved in the decomposition and utilization of the ingested food and forwards it to the intestine. The stomach can be affected by numerous diseases of varying degrees of severity. Especially easier digestive problems occur very often.

What is the stomach?

Infogram on the anatomy and structure of the stomach with gastric ulcer. Click to enlarge.

The stomach is an important digestive organ, with which almost all animals and thus humans are equipped. The human stomach is a so-called einhohliger stomach, a hollow muscular organ, which is provided inside with a mucous membrane.

The stomach absorbs the food it feeds and begins to decompose or split it before it is passed on to the intestinal tract for further digestion. There then takes place the actual digestion. The size or the capacity of the stomach is on average 1.5 liters; but this amount can vary in individual cases.

Anatomy & Construction

The stomach is located in the human abdominal space at the lower end of the esophagus, which feeds it via the so-called stomach entrance or stomach mouth.

The organ has a curvature; The actual shape of the stomach is not constant, but depends on the amount of filling. So it lowers easily when there is a lot of food in it. The pre-digestion of these takes place in the stomach body, the largest part of the organ. In front of the stomach body is still the stomach base settled.

This captures the air swallowed during the meal and prevents it from getting into the stomach. The lower end of the stomach is the connection to the duodenum. This part is called accordingly "gatekeeper". He passes on the food in small portions to the intestine.

Functions & Tasks

The stomach is, as already mentioned, directly involved in the digestion. While the actual digestion process takes place in the intestine, the stomach has the primary task of breaking down the proteins in the diet and preparing them for the intestinal tract.

The gastric acid contained inside the organ activates the enzymes pepsin and cathepsin, which are needed to break down the protein. However, food components for fats or carbohydrates usually pass through the stomach untouched. The stomach acid also helps to protect the stomach and the entire digestive tract from pathogens and infections. Most types of bacteria are unable to survive the so-called gastric juice and are destroyed by direct contact.

The flexibility of the stomach allows the organ to adapt to the amount and frequency of food intake. Thus, it is possible that humans need to eat only a few meals a day: The janitor passes on the pre-digested food in small quantities to the duodenum, so that the stomach is never completely emptied and always enough nutrients for optimal functioning are available.

Diseases

The stomach can be affected by different diseases. Common symptoms include mild digestive problems such as heartburn (reflux), gastric pressure or gastrointestinal infections.

Also gastritis or gastric ulcer are not uncommon. The causes of such diseases are usually in an unfavorable lifestyle, such as an irregular and unhealthy diet and a lot of stress. Also, taking various medications can attack the stomach. Often the symptoms can be alleviated by a change in lifestyle - if this happens in time, chronic stomach diseases can be prevented.

Severe illnesses such as gastric cancer or gastric bleeding caused by chronic alcohol consumption are in urgent need of medical treatment as they can lead to the death of the person in the worst case. Basically, stomach problems should not be taken lightly. If left untreated for an extended period of time, the stomach's function may be impaired, which can significantly reduce the patient's quality of life.

If you feel bloated, heartburn and pressure or pain in the stomach area, it is advisable to see a doctor. With a gastroscopy (gastroscopy) and a comprehensive examination, the causes can be identified and treated.

Typical & common diseases

  • stomach ulcer
  • Gastritis (gastritis)
  • Abdominal influenza
  • Duodenal ulcer
  • irritable stomach
  • stomach cancer
  • Crohn's disease (chronic intestinal inflammation)
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • appendicitis
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