Difference Between Esophagus and Trachea

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Oesophagus and Trachea Differences

Human physiology is a fascinating subject where students can learn about different organs and systems. These organs are parts of different systems inside the body having specific functions. The complex organ systems need to be properly understood so that you can easily find out the functions of these systems and the individual organs. Sometimes it becomes confusing as two or more organs are present in the same section of a human body. In fact, a part of the organ looks similar to the other if not properly differentiated. One such confusion arises between the food pipe and the windpipe. The difference between the windpipe and food pipe should be properly studied so that you can understand their functions and can locate them in the different organ systems. The food pipe is a part of the digestive system. It starts from the mouth and ends in the stomach, the first digestive organ of our body. Similarly, the windpipe exists right behind the food pipe. It starts below the nose, carries on to the lungs in a bifurcated way forming bronchi. Let us study the difference first to grab the concept well.


What is a Food pipe or Oesophagus?

The first step is to understand the organs individually. The food pipe, also called as oesophagus, is a pipe-like structure present in the digestive canal. It begins from the mouth and ends in the stomach. After mastication, the food bolus is swallowed with the help of our tongue. This food bolus then travels down a pipe before reaching the stomach. This is the first difference between the trachea and oesophagus. Oesophagus carries food to the stomach.

This pipe is made of a muscular lumen that carries the food bolus by performing the peristaltic movement. This movement occurs when periodic constriction and relaxation of the muscles occur involuntarily. The food then reaches the stomach. An interesting fact about the peristaltic movement is that one can eat and swallow food even if he is upside down or without gravity.


What is the Trachea?

The trachea is comparatively smaller than oesophagus and is guarded by semicircular (C-shaped) cartilages. This is also called a windpipe as it carries inhaled air to the lungs and exhaled air to the nostrils. This pipe is responsible to carry air and is situated right in front of the oesophagus. In the windpipe, there is no peristaltic movement as it has to carry air inside and outside. The trachea begins in the larynx region to the lungs. Before entering the lungs, the trachea bifurcates into two bronchi. This pipe extends in the thoracic and cervical region. This is another difference between windpipe and food pipe as oesophagus extends in the thoracic, abdominal, and cervical parts of the body.

As you can understand the trachea is a part of the respiratory system. Breathing is necessary throughout the day for the entire life. This is why the trachea is guarded with C-shaped cartilages to maintain its shape. It can get collapsed during sleeping or from an injury. To maintain rhythmic breathing, protecting the windpipe is absolutely necessary.


Why should you study the difference between Trachea and Esophagus?

Now that you have understood the meaning of the terms from the description given above, you have partially clarified your doubts. This is where tabulating the difference between the trachea and esophagus will totally resolve your queries and help you concentrate on the concept. The experts of Vedantu have prepared the difference table in such a way that you can find the respective features of both the pipes present very close to each other in a human body.

The best way to study the differences is by referring to the food pipe and windpipe diagram in the book. Check every physical feature of the windpipe and food pipe mentioned in the table of differences and try to find out in the image. It will help you understand how both the pipes differ from each other. The experts have used basic language to simplify the concepts in order to make the students understand the difference between trachea and oesophagus.


Why prefer using Vedantu’s difference between Windpipe Food Pipe?

The experts are highly experienced in teaching biology to the students. They know where the students might have confusion and how to make them understand. The prime aim is to differentiate both windpipe food pipe in such a way that the students can easily identify them and right the features. The differences are framed in a tabular way so that the students can study, understand, memorize, and prepare for the exam well.   

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is the Food Pipe and Windpipe the same?

Answer: Food pipe and windpipe are not the same. Both the pipes have differences in structural and functional basis. Continue reading this concept page to find the differences and study.

2. How does Oesophagus carry food?

Answer: The peristaltic movement in the food pipe creates food boluses. These boluses are carried from the mouth to the stomach by periodic constriction and relaxation of the oesophagus muscles.

3. How do Windpipe and Food Pipe in the human body differ?

Answer: The windpipe and food pipe in human body differ from each other in a structural and functional way. Food pipe carries food from the mouth to the stomach. It is a part of the digestive system. The trachea or windpipe carries air in and out from the respiratory system.