How many tubes are in your throat?

When it comes to the human body, there are so many fascinating things to learn about. One particular part of the body that has always been interesting is the throat! You may wonder just how many tubes make up this small yet vital part of our anatomy.

The Basics

To get started, let’s define what we mean by “the throat”. The throat refers to the airway and food passage located at the back of your mouth. Essentially, everything passes through your throat from air to food and even water!

Now, when it comes down to tubes in a human’s throat – that can be a bit more confusing. Generally speaking though there are typically two types of tubes found in one’s’ throat: those associated with breathing (aka lungs), and those primarily for swallowing (aka esophagus).

However breaking these down further will give us more details…

Trachea Tube

First up is the trachea tube… This vertical tube connects your nose/throat area directly into your lungs which allows youo breathe(Also known broadly as Aerodigestive tract – Combination between respiratory system & digestive tract)The lining inside this tube contains cilia(little hair-like protrusions) which help remove any dirt/particle from breathing in while allowing moist warm air intake(making sure our lung stay wet/hydrated)

This particular passageway divides into additional smaller branches called bronchi then spreading out/dividing throughout each lung(as per person different no- typically around 30k Bronchiole branching tubes)

Picture time:

Tracheal Tube image
Fig1-A depiction/drawing showing where specific organs/tubes lie

Oesophageal Tube

Next on our tour around the neck/windpipe(generic term for Trachea),is the Oesophageal Tube. This tube transfers food/liquids down from mouth to stomach for digestion through a series of muscular exchange called “peristaltic movement”.

Located behind your trachea, we can think of it like running parallel (similar but different routes).

Here’s what that looks like:

Oesophageal Tube image
Fig2-Image demonstrating where oesophagus runs towards

Larynx or Voice box

We all remember hearing something about larynx and voices…Well here is our chance understand…

The name sounds fancy(indeed it is) yet this organ serves a simpler function than I initially thought, physically able to hold your vocal cords.

On application of air pressure delivered by lungs – makes them vibrate while giving off sound waves which we hear as speech/sound(s)(sometimes coughing & laughing too!)

Sounding familiar?

A Fun fact other animals such as dogs,cats,horses also have similar “voice boxes”!
Anyway back on track…. or down the throat so to speak.

Larynx with Vocal Chords

As seen in Fig3 above-The Epiglottis(flaps)- closes off the trachea opening when swallowing – normally leaving only one pathway…the esophagus!


Just to summarize,it seems there are three main tubes located in the human throat:

  1. The Trachea
  2. The Esophagus
  3. The Larynx or Voice Box

Each one serving their individual purpose. Considering they’re keeping us breathing,eating&speaking,it’s amazing how so few tubes can do so much work!

Quick FAQs

  • Are there more than 3 types of tubing in the throat & larynx?
  • There are other smaller/different groupings, but mainly we have three “large” tubes.

  • Can you breathe/eat at the same time?

  • No, simply because when swallowing,the epiglottis(flaps) prevents food/liquids from entering into our airway/trachea restricting oxygen intake into lungs in case an accidently inhale takes place.

I hope this guide was interesting for all those curious about their inner workings! Even now it never seems to amaze me just how beautiful and complex our bodies truly are.

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