Pyloric Sphincter Functions and Problems

Your digestive system is made up of many different parts that must work together well in order for you to stay healthy. The pyloric sphincter is one of those parts. It is the sphincter muscle of the pylorus, a body part that separates the stomach from the duodenum.

To explain a bit further, the sphincter muscle is a ring of smooth, muscular fibers. This smooth membrane surrounds the opening of the stomach into the duodenum. This article will explain the function of pyloric sphincter, as well as functions of other parts in the digestive system.


Pyloric Sphincter Function

Understanding this begins with a good idea of where it is located in the body. The pyloric canal connects the stomach to the duodenum. The pylorus is divided into two parts, including the pyloric antrum, which links to the stomach, and the pyloric canal, which leads to the duodenum. These are a few of the most essential functions:

1. Regulate Digestion

When the sphincter is contracted, it holds food in the stomach, allowing the digestive juices to do their work.This breaks down the food into a substance called “chyme.” Once the food has broken down, the sphincter opens and allows it to enter the duodenum. The time the food spends in the stomach allows the body to absorb more of the nutrients.

2. Prevent Reflux

Reflux is a very painful condition. The tightening of the sphincter after digested food passes through prevents the food from coming back into the stomach, which could be very painful. As long as the sphincter is healthy, it serves as a one-way door to the intestines, and that keeps your digestive system moving smoothly.

Problems with Pyloric Sphincter

As with any other part of your body, problems with the pyloric sphincter function can mean serious consequences. One of these conditions is known as pyloric stenosis. This is a narrowing of the sphincter that results in difficulty in chyme passing through. It might also open at the wrong time, and that can mean that the digestive system doesn’t work as smoothly. These problems can often be the result of blockages brought on by stomach cancer, but other conditions can also cause the issue.

If you have a problem with your digestive system, doctors can determine whether it is the pyloric sphincter by doing a series of tests. Medical imaging can lead to many definite conclusions, and so can the endoscopy, or the use of a small camera inserted into the body to see how it is working inside.

If you face any problems with normal function, you will likely need to see a specialist. These specialists can focus on your digestive tract in a much clearer way than your general practice physician, and they can also call for more advanced tests. If you do have a problem, the treatment is often tailored to the cause of the issue and to your overall health. Treatments can be as simple as medication or as invasive as surgery.

If you are having any problems at all with your digestive system, it pays to get your doctor’s attention as soon as possible. Since your digestion affects so much of your body, any small problem can turn into a very big concern if not corrected in a timely fashion. In addition, even the smallest issues can lead to a “domino effect” of problems, creating other health issues in your body that will then need further medical attention.

Parts of the Digestive System and Their Functions

To help clarify some of the issues that you might have with the digestive tract, it is important to know the different parts and their functions. Besides pyloric sphincter function, here is a brief overview of the parts of your digestive system and what they do to keep your body running efficiently.


Description and Function


Your tongue, teeth, lips, salivary glands and jaw are the beginning of the digestive system. We use our mouths to break down food and the saliva helps break it down with enzymes.


This muscular tube is the pathway from your mouth to your stomach. It opens and closes at the pharynx. Smooth muscles gently push food down your esophagus into your stomach.


The stomach has sphincter muscles at the top and bottom, which coordinate to allow food in and then to allow it out. The stomach stores food and slowly digests it throughout the day.


This is where the food passes into from the stomach. It breaks down even further as it passes through the small and large intestines. The intestines are a very long system, and this allows your body to raw every bit of nutrients possible from your food.


The liver does two things: stores glucose for later use, and produces bile that helps break down fats in your stomach. It can also store vitamins and minerals.

Gall Bladder

This tiny sac beneath the liver stores bile, which is then released to the small intestine to aid in digestion. Many people live without their gall bladders, so though it is helpful, it is not an essential part of digestion.


One of the purposes of this organ is to create pancreatic juice, which the helps break down food. It weakens or neutralizes the acids in food, and also contains enzymes that help break down food.

Current time: 05/25/2024 05:30:41 pm (America/New_York) Memory usage: 1410.12KB