Font Size

Anatomy Involved in Crohn's Disease

Overview of the Digestive System

The digestive system is made up of the digestive tract, which is a long series of organs, including the esophagus, the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine, that runs from the mouth to the anus. The digestive tract in an adult is about 30 feet long.

Digestion begins in the mouth where saliva begins to break down food. Food is swallowed from the mouth into the esophagus, which then moves the chewed food to the stomach. The stomach has strong muscular walls that mix and churn the food with acid and enzymes (known as gastric juice), breaking the food into smaller pieces. The processed semiliquid food, called chyme, is slowly released from the stomach into the small intestine.

Most digestion and absorption occurs in the small intestine. The small intestine has 3 parts: 1) the duodenum, 2) the jejunum, and 3) the ileum. Enzymes and other substances made by intestinal cells, the pancreas, and the liver are secreted into the small intestine and breakdown starches, sugars, fats, and proteins. Absorption of nutrients occurs through the millions of tiny fingerlike projections called villi and the even tinier projections on the villi called microvilli. Any undigested material moves to the large intestine. The large intestine or colon has four sections called the 1) cecum/ascending colon, 2) transverse colon, 3) descending colon/sigmoid, and 4) rectum. The main job of the large intestine is to remove water and salts (electrolytes) from the undigested material and to form solid waste (feces) that can be excreted. The remaining contents of the large intestine move to the rectum, where feces are stored until they leave the body through the anus as a bowel movement.

Picture of Crohn's Disease
Picture of Crohn's Disease

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/24/2015
Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:
Medical Reviewer:

Must Read Articles Related to Anatomy Involved in Crohn Disease

Anatomy of the Digestive System
Anatomy of the Digestive System Digestion is the process in which food is broken into smaller pieces so the body can use them to build and nourish cells and provide energy. The learn more >>
Crohn's Disease
Crohn Disease Crohn's disease (Crohn disease) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and is a chronic long-term inflammation of the digestive tract. The cause of Crohn's dis...learn more >>
Crohn's Disease FAQs
Crohn Disease FAQs

Crohn's disease (Crohn disease) is a chr...learn more >>

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Crohn Disease »

Crohn disease is an idiopathic, chronic, transmural inflammatory process of the bowel that often leads to fibrosis and obstructive symptoms, which can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract from the mouth to the anus.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary