Throat (pharynx) and esophagus are adjacently located parts of the gastrointestinal system and basically involve in the complex process of swallowing (dysphagia). In addition to these two parts, mouth also involves in the swallowing process. When swallowing, throat muscles suddenly contract and propel the food to the upper part of the esophagus, muscular tube connecting the stomach, and throat.
What is Throat?
Throat is more often referred to as pharynx. It is a funnel shaped, short muscular tube, composed of skeletal muscles. The inner part of it is lined by mucous membrane. During the swallowing process, food is passed from the mouth into the pharynx. Once the food is in the throat, it repels the food into the esophagus by throat muscles. Pharynx can be divided into three basic parts; nasopharynx, oropharynx, and hypopharynx. The specialty of the throat is that it involves in both respiratory and digestive functions. When it comes to the main three parts of the pharynx, the nasopharynx involves in respiration while the other two parts, the oropharynx and hypopharynx, involve in digestive function. The features of the throat of adult and child have some significant differences.
What is Esophagus?
Esophagus is a long collapsible muscular tube which connects the pharynx and stomach of the gastrointestinal system. In an adult, it reaches about 25 cm in length and lies posterior to the trachea. The upper end of esophagus connects to the inferior end of the laryngopharynx, and the lower end connects to stomach. When it passes through the diaphragm, it pierces the diaphragm through the opening called the esophageal hiatus. The muscle content of the esophagus is unique because it contains both skeletal and smooth muscles and their combination. Furthermore, the upper part of the esophagus is composed of skeletal muscles, whereas the lower part contains only smooth muscles. Moreover, the intermediate part between the upper and lower contain both skeletal and smooth muscles. The interior cell lining of esophagus secretes mucus, which enables foods to transport easily through the tube to the stomach. However, esophagus does not secrete any digestive enzyme; thus it does not involve in any digestion or absorption process.
What is the differences between Throat and Esophagus?
• During the swallowing process, the food is first passed into the throat followed by esophagus.
• Throat is funnel shaped muscular tube, whereas esophagus is a pipe shaped muscular tube.
• Esophagus involves in the process of digestion, whereas throat involves in both digestion and respiration.
• Throat contains only skeletal muscles, whereas esophagus contains both skeletal and smooth muscles in an unique order.
• Esophagus in children and adult are more similar, unlike the throat. Throat undergoes many changes during the life cycle of a human.