Stomach

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The stomach in the gastrointestinal system

The stomach is part of the digestive system. It is a big sack between the esophagus and the small intestines. The stomach is the third stage in the digestive process. It holds food after ingestion. Food in the stomach then passes through to the small intestine where most of the food's nutrition is absorbed.

The stomach contains hydrochloric acid made by stomach cells. This acid kills bacteria in the food. Acid in the stomach may cause problems. It can worsen peptic ulcer disease. It can also cause gastroesophageal reflux (or heartburn) — pain in the chest when acid from the stomach refluxes (backs up into) the esophagus. these can usually be treated by neutralising the acid.

Vomiting occurs when food goes back up the esophagus and out the mouth. Vomiting can be a symptom of disease.

Stomachs of other animals work differently than human stomachs. Cows, for example, have a stomach with multiple compartments.

Other words for stomach include belly and tummy.