Illustration of esophagus
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As you swallow the bite of pie, muscles in your mouth and throat propel it to your upper esophagus, the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. Muscles in the wall of your esophagus create synchronized waves — one after another — that propel the pie into your stomach. In this process, called peristalsis, muscles behind the bolus of pie contract, squeezing it forward, while muscles ahead of it relax, allowing it to advance without resistance.

When the bolus reaches the lower end of your esophagus, pressure from the food signals a muscular valve — the lower esophageal sphincter — to relax and let the food enter your stomach.