The Stomach Role In Digestive System
Stomach is a kind of Storehouse in which the food is stored between Meals, and where it can undergo a certain kind of Melting or Dissolving. The food reaches the Stomach through the Gullet.
The Stomach – Its Shape and Position:
The Stomach is about the Shape of a Pear, with its larger end upward and pointing to the left, and its smaller end tapering down into the Intestine, or Bowel, on the right, just under the Liver. The middle part of the Stomach lies almost directly under what we call the “Pit of the Stomach,” though far the larger part of it lies above and to the left of this point, going right up under the ribs until it almost touches the heart, the diaphragm only coming between. This is one of the reasons why, when we have an attack of Indigestion, and the Stomach is distended with gas, we are quite likely to have Palpitation and
“Shortness of Breath as well, because the gas-swollen left end of the Stomach is pressing upward against the Diaphragm and thus upon the Heart and the Lungs. Most cases of Imagined Heart trouble are really due to Indigestion.”
The Lining Surface of the Stomach:
Now let us look more carefully at the lining surface of the Stomach, for it is very wonderful. Like all other living surfaces, it consists of tiny, living units, or “body bricks” called Cells, packed closely side by side like Bricks in a Pavement. This Mucous Membrane, or Lining, of our Food Tube is not a continuous sheet, like a piece of Calico or Silk; but it is made up of living ranks of millions of tiny Cells standing shoulder to shoulder.
These cells are always actively at work picking out the substances they need, and manufacturing out of them the Ferments and Acids, or Alkalies, needed for acting upon the Food in their particular part of the tube, whether it be the Mouth, The Stomach, or The Small Intestine.
The Role of Peptic Juice:
The Cells of the Stomach Glands manufacture and pour out a slightly sour, or acid, Juice containing ferment called Pepsin. The acid, which is known as Hydrochloric Acid, and the Pepsin together are able to melt down pieces of Meat, Egg, or Curds of Milk, and dissolve them into a clear, jelly-like fluid, or thin soup, which can readily be absorbed by the Cells Lining of the Intestine.
“You can see now why you shouldn’t take Large Doses of Soda or Other Alkalies, just because you feel a little uncomfortable after eating. They will make your stomach less acid and perhaps relieve the discomfort, but They Stop or Slow down Digestion. Neither is it well to swallow large quantities of Ice-Water, or other Very Cold Drinks, at Meal Times, or during the Process of Digestion. As digestion is largely getting the food dissolved in water, the drinking of moderate quantities of water, or other fluids, at meals is not only no hindrance, but rather a help in the process. The danger comes only when the drink is taken So Cold as to check digestion, or when it is used to wash down the Food in Chunks, before it has been properly ground by the Teeth”
Digestion in the Stomach:
Although usually a single, Pear-Shaped pouch, The Stomach, during digestion, is practically divided into two parts by the shortening, or closing down, of a ring of circular muscle fibers about four inches from the lower end, throwing it into a large, rounded pouch on the left, and a small, cone-shaped one on the right. The Gullet, of course, opens into the large left-hand pouch; and here the food is stored as it is swallowed until it has become sufficiently melted and Acidified (mixed with acid juice) to be ready to pass on into the Smaller Pouch. Here more acid juice is poured out into it, and it is churned by the Muscles in the Walls of the Stomach until it is changed to a jelly-like substance.