Esophagus Facts for Kids

A Picture of the Esophagus
  • Organ Name: Esophagus
  • Organ System: Digestive system
  • Organ Purpose: Pushing food into the stomach
  • Organ Location: Lower neck down to the stomach
  • Organ Count: 1
  • Organ FMA ID: 7131
  • Organ TA ID: A05.4.01.001

22 Esophagus Facts for Kids

  1. The esophagus is a thin elongated organ in the human body that is part of the human digestive system.
  2. The esophagus is also sometimes called the gullet or food pipe, in British English, esophagus is spelled oesophagus.
  3. The esophagus is the first part of the human gastrointestinal tract (GI) and human digestive system.
  4. The esophagus in an average adult human is around 10 inches in length.
  5. The esophagus pushes found from the pharynx to the stomach via peristaltic contractions.
  6. Peristaltic contractions are waves of muscle movements along the esophagus to push food into the stomach.
  7. Peristaltic contractions can move food into your stomach even if you’re upside side.
  8. Depending on the size, food takes between three and eight seconds to go from your pharynx to the stomach.
  9. The epiglottis prevents food from entering your windpipe and lungs when you swallow food.
  10. Saliva produced in your mouth helps lubricate food when it’s passed through the esophagus.
  11. Around 70% of the 20,000 protein-coding genes are expressed in human cells are found in the esophagus.
  12. Heartburn, also known as acid indigestion, has nothing to do with your heart. Heartburn is caused by gastric acid from your stomach getting regurgitated into your esophagus.
  13. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by gastric acid from your stomach constantly being regurgitated into your esophagus. Which in turn causes a wide array of symptoms and/or complications.
  14. Esophagitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the esophagus and is a common result in people with Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  15. Esophageal cancer is a cancer that starts in the esophagus and in 2018 there were 572,000 new cases globally.
  16. There are two main types of esophageal cancer and they are squamous-cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma.
  17. Squamous-cell carcinoma esophageal cancer has been linked to lifestyle factors, like drinking alcohol and smoking.
  18. Cases of squamous-cell carcinoma esophageal cancer are more common in the developing world.
  19. Adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer has been linked to continuous exposure to acid reflux in people with Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
  20. Cases of adenocarcinoma esophageal cancer are more common in the developed world.
  21. Humans aren’t the only animals with an esophagus, all vertebrate animals have one.
  22. The animal with the longest esophagus is the giraffe (Giraffa).

Additional Resources on the Human Esophagus