The Stomach

The stomach is a J-shaped pouch with greater and lesser curves and ends at the pyloric sphincter. It is made up of the following structures:

• The cardia joins the oesophagus to the stomach

• The fundus is the dome-shaped part of the stomach and extends to the left above the cardia

• The body acts as the main reservoir

• The pylorus, is the last section before the pyloric sphincter

The stomach is made of three layers of muscle: the inner oblique muscle, middle circular muscle and outer longitudinal muscle. The stomach is a storage organ and is situated just below the diaphragm between the oesophagus and the duodenum; it is approximately 25-30 cm long and 10-15 cm wide at its widest part. The pyloric sphincter protects the outlet into the duodenum until the food is ready to pass as chyme. The bolus is mixed with the gastric juices which are controlled by the vagus nerve and the hormone gastrin. The motion of the movement of the bolus is to mix it with the gastric juices to change the bolus into chyme. The gastric secretions consist of:

• water, mineral salts and mucus

• hydrochloric acid

The vagus nerve and the hormone gastrin control the production of the gastric juices. The pyloric region secretes the hormone gastrin into the blood supply and it circulates in the body before returning to the cells in the stomach.

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