Definition of Digestive system

Digestive system: The system of organs responsible for getting food into and out of the body and for making use of food to keep the body healthy. The digestive system includes the salivary glands, mouth, esophagus, stomach, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, small intestine, colon, and rectum. The digestive system's organs are joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. Inside this tube is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. Two solid organs, the liver and the pancreas (both of which are embryologically derived from the digestive tract), produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes known as ducts. In addition, parts of other organ systems (for instance, nerves and blood) play a major role in the digestive system.


Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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