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Digestive process - Definition


The digestive process is the term used to describe every stage of digestion in the body. Firstly, food is ingested through the mouth, where it is reduced in volume by the chewing process and the activity of combined enzymes in the saliva. The food then travels down the esophagus, by means of gravity and contraction of the muscles located in the digestive tract, before arriving at the stomach, where new enzymes present in the gastric juices continue the process of breaking the food down into molecules that can be absorbed by the gastric glands. The next stage is the intestines, firstly the small intestine then the large, followed by the colon, at which point muscular contraction, called peristalsis, pushes the waste substances that have not been absorbed along to be ejected as fecal matter during a bowel movement. When the digestive process is accelerated, it can result in diarrhea, and when it is slowed down, it can lead to constipation.