Throat: Definition, Parts, Types and Functions of the Throat

Written by Nandy

Throat function – The throat is a respiratory organ used by humans. In carrying out daily activities, humans need organs that have their respective functions. One of the organs that is quite vital is the throat, this organ helps humans to carry out normal activities as usual.

In this case, it can be said that the throat can not only help humans in carrying out the breathing process, but can also help humans in swallowing as well. So what is the throat? What are the functions of the throat and what disorders allow it to attack? Let’s see Grameds!

What is Throat?


Throat as part of the human respiratory and digestive systems. Before entering the esophagus and stomach to undergo the digestive process, food will pass through the throat. The throat as part of the respiratory system is connected to the nasal cavity, so that it will let air that enters through the nose go to the larynx, trachea and lungs. The role of the throat is to ensure that the process of breathing and swallowing food is running properly, so that the food that enters does not experience problems.

The parts of the throat include the tonsils, the back of the tongue and the soft palate. The branch of the throat, namely the esophagus, whose function is to carry food from the trachea to the stomach. Swallowing activity that occurs in the throat is a result of reflex and as a form of body control. The tongue as well as on the roof of the mouth to eat pushes the food that has entered to enter the throat which will then be processed in the digestive tract.

The throat also has several health problems that can occur at any time. Some of the health problems that occur in the throat include:

  1. Tonsillitis.
  2. Pharyngitis or sore throat.
  3. Throat cancer.
  4. Croup or inflammation that is generally experienced by young children. Usually marked by a cough.
  5. Laryngitis or swelling of the voice box which can cause hoarseness and even loss of voice.

Throat Sections

The throat has several parts that work together with one another to direct and regulate food and incoming air. To find out what are the parts of the throat, we will discuss it at this point. So, keep reading this article to the end, Grameds.

  • pharynx

The pharynx has the role of connecting the mouth to the nasal cavity through a muscular tube. Its function is as a way for food and air to reach the stomach and lungs.

The pharynx itself is divided into three parts, namely the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx. This part of the nasopharynx is located at the top or roof of the mouth. The oropharynx is located in the middle which consists of the tonsils and also the uvula.

The laryngopharynx is located at the bottom which consists of the epiglottis and a channel that will lead to the esophagus or larynx.

  • epiglottis 

The part in the form of a muscle fold will cover the larynx during the swallowing process, so that food cannot enter the larynx and lungs. If food gets stuck in the larynx, it will cause aspiration pneumonia.

It is the epiglottis that determines whether food and drink enter the proper route and not into the respiratory tract. The epiglottis valve will close the airways when food enters and is swallowed. The purpose of food entering the epiglottis valve is to expedite the digestive tract and open the respiratory tract.

  • Larynx 

The muscular vertical tube that houses the vocal cords is often referred to as the voice box. The larynx allows humans to produce sound. Air is inhaled through the larynx before reaching the trachea.

Apart from functioning in the respiratory system, the larynx also plays an important role in the production of human speech. The reason is that it will produce sound on the vocal cords. The location of the larynx is in front of the pharynx or between the trachea and the root of the tongue, which is at the top and front of the neck.

  • Trachea 

The next section of the windpipe is the trachea. This section has a shape like a vertical pipe. This hollow, muscular vertical tube known as the windpipe connects the larynx to the bronchi of the lungs. The trachea has a function to continue the flow of air into the lungs during the breathing process.

  • Esophagus 

This vertical muscular tube separates from the pharynx and carries food and drink into the stomach. If Grameds is not active, the size of the esophagus can reach 9-10 inches wide by 2 cm by being near the trachea.

Throat Function

The main thing about the function of the throat is related to the process of breathing and digestion. The following are several functions of the throat, including:

  • Throat function in digestion

In the digestive process, the function of the throat is related to being a channel through which the food and drink that Grameds consumes. Food and drink before being digested will cross the throat. After going through the throat, the food consumed will immediately go down into the esophagus which will eventually go directly to your body’s stomach organs. In this process, the function of the throat is to ensure that food does not enter the trachea and in the end it will not make you choke.

  • Throat function in breathing

The throat has a function as a link in the digestive process. In other words, the throat will connect the nasal cavities with the lungs so that the breathing process goes well. At first, the air that is inhaled through the nose will be passed into the throat, then through the larynx and into the trachea, finally reaching the lungs. In addition to digestion and respiration, the throat also has a vital role in the defense of the human body because it can help the body fight infection.

In distinguishing food and air passages, the throat has a small organ called the epiglottis. This organ is part of the throat. The epiglottis is located to the left and right of the throat and acts like an automatic door that opens and closes as needed.

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When Grameds swallows food or drink, the epiglottis will close the larynx, so that the intake goes directly into the esophagus and does not go to the respiratory tract. If the epiglottis closes too late, food or drink can get into the larynx and this is what causes Grameds to choke.

The body will automatically cough to remove blockages that occur in the respiratory tract. In addition, the pharynx also has a function in speech by working with other speech organs and muscles to produce sound.

  • The function of the throat for the body’s defense system

The throat also has a role as the body’s defense system, this has functions carried out by other parts called the adenoids and tonsils. These tonsils are at the back of the right and left mouth. Grameds may know him better as tonsils. Meanwhile, the adenoids are located behind the nose. Both can help the body fight infection.

However, under certain conditions, swelling sometimes occurs which requires the patient to perform surgery. This needs to be done so that the respiratory tract is not closed, so that the breathing process continues to run optimally.

  • Help us speak and hear

Although it is rarely known, the next function of the throat is to help with speech. The throat as a tube that closes, with changes due to the presence of muscle tissue. So, when air travels through the pharynx to the voice box, the vocal cords will also work according to their function, which is to amplify sound.

Then, there are two tubes that connect the ear to the throat, namely the auditory tube. Both have a role in equalizing pressure and helping to drain existing fluids.

  • Fight infection

Not only for digestive and respiratory processes, the protrusions of the tonsils in the throat also function for the body’s defense system. The tonsils or tonsils have 3 parts, which are located at the back of the throat. The tonsils are the organs of the body with the first line of defense against infection.

However, if Grameds has swelling due to the tonsils, it can be removed or surgically removed so that it does not block the way to breathe. Tansil surgery will not reduce the body’s ability to fight infection, because there are still parts of the body that act as the immune system. Cilia is one of them, cilia are fine hairs that are on the wall of the throat with a function as an air filter. If bad particles occur, they will be expelled through coughing.

Types of Throat Disease


Apart from discussing the parts of the throat, the discussion of this point is the types of throat diseases. This needs to be known so that we can get first aid when feeling a sore throat.

  • Throat infection 

Streptococcus bacteria are one of the causes of throat infections. This infection has flu-like symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, swollen tonsils, vomiting, rash and enlarged lymph nodes. Throat infection as a contagious infection, generally affects children and tends to cause complications such as rheumatic fever.

  • Tonsillitis 

Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. However, some cases of tonsillitis are caused by viruses. In general, tonsillitis makes a sore throat, painful swallowing, high fever, cough, earache and like a throat infection tend to affect children.

  • Pharyngitis 

The next throat disease is pharyngitis. Pharyngitis is a throat disease that occurs in the pharynx or more precisely inflammation of the pharynx. This disease in the throat is caused by bacteria or viruses. In general, this disease occurs when winter arrives. When experiencing this disease, the throat is like pain when swallowing a food.

  • Viral infection

Grameds’ throat is susceptible to viral infections. This infection will cause various diseases such as coughs and flu, mumps, inflammation of the vocal cords, herpangina and mononucleosis.

  • Bacterial infection

The human throat will also be susceptible to bacterial infections. If infected with bacteria, the throat can experience several symptoms such as itching and dryness, inflammation of the tonsils or tonsillitis, inflammation of the epiglottis and inflammation of the tissue around the tonsils.

  • Injury and irritation 

Not only infected with other viruses, the throat is also prone to irritation which can last a long time, usually more than 7 days. However, this condition can still be caused by several things, such as dry air, full pollution, GERD, injuries from being hit by sharp objects to experiencing acute fatigue.

  • Dysphagia 

Dysphagia can also be referred to as a swallowing disorder. Health problems usually occur in the mouth, esophagus, and throat. The cause is likely due to neurological or muscle problems.

  • Throat cancer 

This is cancer that develops in the throat area. The more severe the cancer has spread, the more likely Grameds will experience complications such as difficulty swallowing, being unable to speak and having difficulty breathing. However, throat cancer is relatively rare compared to other cancers.

Types of Throat Surgery and Procedures

In the throat, viral and bacterial infections can be resolved or treated by taking anti-viral and anti-bacterial drugs, but surgical procedures are only performed in certain cases, for example infections that occur repeatedly or recur. Surgical procedures are generally performed to treat the throat, including:

  • Tracheostomy 

The first surgical procedure for dealing with the throat is a tracheostomy. In this surgical process, it will usually be done by perforating or making an opening in the trachea. This is done to be able to reach towards the breathing tube.

Usually this surgical process is performed when it is difficult to breathe or there is a blockage in breathing. So, this surgical process will only be carried out when the situation is an emergency.

  • Tonsillectomy 

Surgical procedure to remove the tonsils. This is done in patients who have tonsillitis or relapses, especially if these patients often have relapses. Although the tonsils are part of the body’s immune system, they can be removed without any fatal consequences. Lifting the tonsils, it is less likely that other infections will not recur. However, this procedure is only performed if the benefits far outweigh the risks.

  • Adenoidectomy 

Similar to a tonsillectomy, an adenoidectomy is a surgical procedure to remove one of the structures in the throat. Adenoids are parts that have immunity to fight existing infections, this is the same as the tonsils. However, if the infection gets worse, the adenoids will swell and make breathing difficult, an adenoidectomy procedure is needed.

How to Maintain Throat Health  

Apart from discussing the types of throat diseases, we will also discuss how to maintain a healthy throat. Maintaining throat health is arguably quite important because it is very good for our bodies. Here are some steps you can take to keep your throat healthy.

  • Consumption of candy to soothe the throat

The thing that can be done to maintain a healthy throat is to eat candy. With candies that contain vitamin C and double active agents (amylmetacresol and dibenal), the throat can become fresher .

  • Wash hands regularly

If you diligently wash your hands, Gramed will minimize the occurrence of diseases in the throat. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and running water, viruses and bacteria that stick to your hands can die.

  • Consume healthy food

Maintaining nutrition can also minimize throat disease. Grameds can consume carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals every day.

In addition, Grameds can avoid foods and drinks that cause throat irritation. Examples are hot food, coffee, spicy food, and so on.

Difference between Throat and Esophagus

Maybe some of the Grameds still can’t tell the difference between the throat and the esophagus. However, both have different functions. The place where air, food and drink pass is called the throat. Not only that, the throat is also used to pass fluids that go down into the lungs.

As for the esophagus as a channel lined with mucous membranes, which is the link between the throat and the stomach. In its anatomy there is a sphincter to prevent stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus or throat.