Chapter

Structure and function of the gut

D.G. Thompson

in Oxford Textbook of Medicine

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780199204854
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199570973 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.1501

Series: Oxford Textbooks

Structure and function of the gut

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The gastrointestinal tract is a hollow tube stretching from the oral cavity through the oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum to the anal sphincter. Its function is the transport, digestion, and elimination of ingested material to supply nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that are essential for life, together with the protection of the rest of the body from injurious or allergenic material. The stomach acts as a storage, sterilizing, and digestive tank; the small intestine is the major site of digestion and absorption; the colon’s function is to salvage water and electrolyte from the small intestinal effluent; and the rectum provides a storage function, enabling the elimination of colonic residue (defecation) to be restricted to times of personal convenience....

Chapter.  2158 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Gastroenterology

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