Bookmark added to your notes.
View Notes

What is Pharynx?

There are many different organ systems present in the human body. These organ systems are made up of various parts and organs. Here we are going to discuss one such important part that students need to know about and it is known as the pharynx. 

Students will also get to know more about pharynx structure and the function that it has to play in the human body. With the help of these details, students will definitely be able to gather more information about the topic and hence understand it in a very easy and detailed manner.

Role of Pharynx

The pharynx is the part of the human body and it acts as a passage that connects the digestive and the respiratory system of the human body. The location of the pharynx is on the throat and we are going to talk about it more in detail later. The pharynx acts as a connection between the mouth and the oesophagus as well as the nose and the larynx.

Water and food that is taken from the oral cavity as well as the air that comes from the nasal cavity have to go through the pharynx. Most vertebrates have the presence of pharynx in their bodies. However, there are some invertebrates such as arthropods and annelids that also have the presence of pharynx in their bodies. Students will further get to learn the pharynx structure and much more from here.

Where is Pharynx Located?

The location of the pharynx is right behind the nasal and the oral cavity. It can be considered as a proper part of the throat and it is also a passage that is connecting the respiratory and the digestive system of the human body.

The opening of the pharynx is from the oesophagus that is present in the human digestive tract and then it goes to open at the larynx that is present in the respiratory tract of the human body. There are some invertebrates that have pharynx although the shape and the size of it might be a bit different in different organisms. Most of them have a very muscular and thick pharynx that is mostly rotated or can be turned outward. We hope that this clears out a few doubts regarding pharynx meaning for the students.

Pharynx Structure and Its Parts

Before learning all about pharynx function and more, students need to know the structure of it. Well, the entire structure of the pharynx can be divided into 3 different regions and they are named Nasal Pharynx, oral pharynx, and laryngeal pharynx. The nasal pharynx is the one that is present behind the nasal cavity. The oral pharynx is the portion of the pharynx that is situated right on the posterior side of the oral cavity. This part of the pharynx continues completely to the throat and goes till the hyoid bone can be seen. The lowermost portion of the pharynx is known as the laryngeal pharynx and it starts from the epiglottis and moves to the part that is known as the oesophagus.

Some of the other features of the pharynx are also mentioned here. For example, the pharynx wall has both circular and longitudinal muscles present. These help in the determination of the lumen shape. The oropharynx wall is made of stratified squamous epithelium. The oropharynx function is to pass the food from the mouth to the laryngopharynx. Laryngopharyns have the function of regulating the air movement into the lungs as well as the food movement into the oesophagus.

Now that students are familiar with some of the concepts regarding the structure of the pharynx, let us move onto the role of pharynx.

All About Pharynx Function

When it comes to knowing about the function of pharynx, it is important to know that there is a dual function to it. The pharynx provides passage to both food and air into the body of human beings. There are some main functions that students need to know about.

  • One important pharynx function in the respiratory system is that it helps to make the air warmer because it assists in the humidification of the air before it reaches the lungs.

  • Another one of the functions that the pharynx has is that it also helps in the proper movement of food so that it can reach the oesophagus without any difficulty. There are circular muscles present in the pharynx that help push down the food. The longitudinal muscles in the pharynx help the process of swallowing for easy movement.

  • Pharynx also has a very important role to play in the speech of a person. This is one of the throat function examples. It helps in the amplification of the sound which is produced by the soundbox or more commonly known as the larynx.

  • There are some lymphoid tissues that are present in the larynx and they can help in the defence process against certain foreign pathogens.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the Function of the Pharynx?

Ans. Pharynx is one of the most important organs that is a part of the respiratory system and the location of it is in the throat. The pharynx has to act as a common passage that can be the connection between the digestive system and the respiratory system. It is the connection that exists between the nose and the mouth to the larynx and the oesophagus respectively. The main function of the pharynx is to assist the respiratory system of the body. It helps in the humidification of air as it makes it warmer before it can reach the lungs. It also helps in the swallowing of food so that it can reach the oesophagus.

Q2. What are the 3 different Parts Present in the Pharynx?

Ans. The pharynx is made up of 3 very different parts and these parts are known as the nasal pharynx, the oral pharynx, and the laryngeal pharynx. These 3 parts make up the entire structure of the pharynx. The location of the nasal pharynx, as the name would suggest, is right behind the nasal cavity. The location of the oral pharynx is on the posterior region of the oral cavity. One important thing to know about the oral pharynx is that it goes from the oral cavity to the hyoid bone that is situated in the throat. The laryngeal pharynx is situated in the epiglottis.