The esophagus is a muscular tube which carries food and liquids from the throat to the stomach for digestion after it has been chewed and chemically softened in the mouth. Food is forced into the stomach by powerful waves of muscle contractions passing through the walls of the esophagus. Because these contractions are so strong in the throat and the esophagus, we can swallow in any position, even upside-down. If the food is noxious or otherwise causes irritation to the stomach lining, it may...

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    Full Esophagus Description

    [Continued from above] . . . travel back by the same force to be thrown out through the mouth, which is called vomiting. The esophagus has rings of muscle at the top and at the bottom. These rings close, or contract, after the food passes through and enters the stomach. If the bottom muscle weakens, stomach contents, along with the stomach acid, may return to the esophagus and cause an uncomfortable, burning sensation known as heartburn.