In Depth: Bones and Organs
The liver, the body’s largest organ, acts like a filtration system. It rids the body of toxins and produces bile to aid the process of metabolism, which is how food is broken down.
The gallbladder is a tiny sack near the liver that holds extra bile made by the liver until it is pumped into the small intestine. Bile helps break down fat.
The stomach stores food and prepares it for digestion. Digestive juices and stomach muscles churn the food to break it down further before it passes into the small intestine.
The pancreas is yet another gland that produces enzymes to help your body digest proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. It also makes hormones that help regulate the distribution of nutrients, including sugar.
The small intestine is a 21-foot long tube is where the main work of digestion happens. The small intestine breaks down fats, starches, and proteins into fatty acids, which can then be absorbed. The food you eat takes three to five hours to work its way through the small intestine.
Despite it’s misleading name, the large intestine is shorter (about five feet) than the small intestine, but it is larger in girth. It is the last part of the digestive tract and made up of the cecum, colon, and rectum.
Women’s abdominal region contains the uterus, a hollow, muscular organ where a fetus grows and is nourished until childbirth.
The main bones in the abdominal region are the ribs. The rib cage protects vital internal organs. There are 12 pairs of ribs that attach to the spine. There are seven upper ribs, known as “true” ribs, and two to three pairs of lower ribs, known as “false” ribs, that attach differently to the sternum.
The seven pairs of ribs in the upper part of the rib cage are connected to the sternum by costal cartilage, which is flexible and allows the rib cage to move during breathing.
Below the ribs and connected by the vertebral column, the ring-like pelvic bones provide a strong foundation for the upper body and protection for the reproductive, digestive, and urinary systems. The female pelvis is shallower and wider than the male’s to allow for childbearing.
Connecting to the pelvis at the hip joint, the femur is the longest and strongest bone in the body.