Your pancreas is shaped like a fish. It stretches across the back of your abdomen, behind your sto...
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Your pancreas is shaped like a fish. It stretches across the back of your abdomen, behind your stomach. Many people know about the pancreas in relation to diabetes, because it makes the hormone insulin. But the pancreas is a dual function organ that makes digestive enzymes as well as hormones. Once food is in your stomach, it is churned and mixed with a highly acidic gastric juice produced in the stomach lining. This mixture moves into the small intestine, where it mixes with juices from the pancreas and liver. The juice produced by the pancreas contains enzymes to further break down the food. It also contains sodium bicarbonate, which neutralizes acid in the partially digested food from the stomach. The pancreatic juice flows into a tube called the pancreatic duct, which joins another tube called the common bile duct. The common bile duct also carries bile. This digestive juice is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. As food is dissolved by digestive juices, it is mixed and pushed forward into the small intestine for further digestion and absorption. Digested nutrients are absorbed through the walls of the small intestine. Solid waste products are pushed into the colon, where water is removed and they remain as feces until expelled in a bowel movement.