G.I. Health

The gastrointestinal (G.I.) tract transforms the food we eat into the nutrients our bodies need to function, grow and heal. The G.I. tract is a complex system of organs that are all integral to our health, and gastrointestinal problems are among the leading reasons patients seek health care. Problems like occasional indigestion, heartburn, abdominal cramping, or constipation may be common, but may mask underlying issues that can affect daily living. Diet, infection, trauma and hereditary conditions can all affect gastrointestinal health. Fortunately, through advances in testing, diagnosis and treatment, Dr. Carl Jones and the team at Nacogdoches Gastroenterology can help many people with gastrointestinal problems to address and overcome their health issues.

What is the G.I. Tract?
The G.I. tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus—the opening through which stool leaves the body. Food is digested by the movement of muscles in the G.I. tract, along with the release of hormones and enzymes. Organs that make up the G.I. tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—which includes the appendix, cecum, colon, and rectum—and anus. The intestines are sometimes called the bowel. The last part of the G.I. tract—called the lower G.I. tract—consists of the large intestine and anus.

The large intestine absorbs water and any remaining nutrients from partially digested food passed from the small intestine. The large intestine then changes waste from liquid to a solid matter called stool. Stool passes from the colon to the rectum. The rectum is located between the last part of the colon—called the sigmoid colon—and the anus. The rectum stores stool prior to a bowel movement. During a bowel movement, stool moves from the rectum to the anus.