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Organs of the Abdominal Cavity

Interested in learning more about the abdominal cavity that we humans (as well as animals) have? Do you know what are the major organs that are present in this cavity? This article is all about the abdominal cavity and the organs that it contains.
Worried about the cavity that is forming in your teeth? Did you know that the size of the dental cavity is a mere nothing when compared to the abdominal cavity which is present in humans as well as in animals. While cleaning fish, I am sure you must have seen how the fishmonger slices the stomach of the fish and takes out its guts. Well, all the 'guts' are present in the abdominal cavity. This cavity, which is an important part of the human body system, is located just below the thorax region (the part which consists of the heart, the respiratory system, the digestive system, the endocrine glands, and so on), and just above the pelvic cavity. This cavity, consists of a large number of organs that are crucial for the running of the human body as well as the animal body. Given below is some more information about what this cavity contains and also the organs, as well as some of the health problems that this cavity might suffer from.

Description and Organs

This cavity is located just below the chest cavity or the thorax region, and both are separated from each other by a thin layer of connective tissue called the diaphragm. The lower part of the abdominal region forms the upper part of the pelvic region. The cavity consists of the viscera or the internal organs which are sometimes also called the gastrointestinal tract. The organs are protected with the help of the visceral peritoneum and the wall of the cavity is lined by the parietal peritoneum. The space between these two is filled by a fluid called the peritoneal fluid. This is the fluid in the cavity which is present to protect the organs present in the cavity.

Coming to the question as to what organs are present in the cavity, given below are some of the most important organs and also some of their functions. Here are the vital organs that are present inside the cavity.

Stomach
I am sure you must have seen the picture of a stomach in biology books or the doctor's chambers. They are J - shaped, thick walled, lying on the left side with the esophagus lying over it and the duodenum lying beneath it. The main function of the stomach is to receive food from the esophagus, storing the food within its wall, mixing it with the various digestive juices that it secretes and then passing it on to the small intestine for the next step of digestion to take place. Stomach is the place where the first step of digestion takes place.

Liver
The liver is an important organ and it is reddish-brown in color. It receives blood from the hepatic portal vein and also the hepatic arteries. This organ lies in the upper right part of the cavity and it is the largest organ in the cavity. The liver helps in synthesis of protein, production of biochemicals that are required for digestion and it also plays an important function in metabolism. Without the liver, it becomes difficult to survive. It produces bile which is stored in the gallbladder and this bile emulsifies the fat in the partly digested food.

Spleen
Located in the upper left part of the abdomen cavity, the spleen is the largest lymphatic organ. Connective tissues called the red pulp and the white pulp separates the spleen into several sections. The main function of the spleen is to improve the immune system of the human body as well as the animal body and producing lymphocytes. It also helps in the filtering of the blood.

Gallbladder
This is a pear shaped organ which is located on the inferior side of the liver and it generally stores the excess bile which is produced by the liver daily. This organ is located just below the liver and it's main function is to release the bile into the duodenum, when fatty food enters the digestive system. The bile emulsifies the fats in the food.

Small Intestine
Though the name is small, the small intestine occupies a large part of the cavity. Contents of the food that are sent from the stomach to the small intestines, are turned into small soluble molecules so that they can be absorbed easily. The part that this organ cannot digest, are sent to the large intestine. it is in the small intestine that most of the chemical digestion takes place and proteins, lipids and fats are the ones that are digested here in the small intestine.

Large Intestine
The large intestine can be divided into several parts; the cecum, the colon, the rectum and the anal canal. Although it is called the large intestine, it is much shorter than the small intestine, although it's diameter is bigger than that of the small intestine. The undigested food is sent by the small intestine and the main function of the large intestine is to absorb the water, salt and other vitamins and send the waste product to the rectum.

These were some of the important organs that are present in the abdominal cavity. Now let us come to one of the major health issue, besides others, and that is cancer.

Problems

The human abdominal cavity can suffer from various problems like abdominal pain or abdominal cancer. The pain might be due to inflammation or if blood is not supplied properly to the various organs. The pain might also be due to various problems in the stomach such as appendicitis or colitis.

Abdominal cancer might take place mainly in the tissue lining of the cavity, and some researchers have found out that the main cause of this cancer might be due to exposure to radiation. The main abdominal cancer symptoms are shortness of breath, loss of weight, pain in the abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, cough accompanied by high fever, and also pain in the chest. When a person shows these symptoms, it's best that the person visits the doctor for a proper diagnosis, and depending upon which stage the cancer may be in (there a 5 stages), the doctor will start off with the treatment. The treatment usually consists of chemotherapy, or radiation, and sometimes even surgery.

Now you know about the abdominal cavity, the various organs it contains, and each of its important functions, and also which is the main problem that this part usually suffers from. If you are worried about the various health issues related to the abdomen, then a proper lifestyle and good food habits will prevent you from suffering from these problems.
By Ratnashri Dutta
Last Updated: 9/20/2011
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