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Urinary Tract Anatomy – Location, Parts and Pictures

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Human takes some and removes some through urinary system. Our body needs essential nutrients for proper functioning. From food we take energy and the leftovers are secreted out of our body. This waste product left after proteins and minerals are consumed comes out in the form of stool and urine.

Urinary System
Image by : wikimedia

The urinary system includes kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. Together these organs store the urine and pass it out of the body. There are serious consequences if the process does not take place properly.  Some of the problems that one can face are heart problems, kidney stones and blood pressure problems.

The urinary tract is divided into upper and lower parts. The four organs divided into two parts together with some other organs impact on urinary function.

Urinary Track Anatomy

The urinary tract comprises 4 main parts

  • 2 kidneys
  • 2 Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

Kidneys

Kidneys are located on either side of upper abdomen. These two bean- shaped, reddish brown organs perform together for a normal life. Some people can survive on a single kidney too. The right kidney is about 2.5 centimeter lower than the left kidney due to presence of the liver on the right side. But still this small looking organ plays a pivtol role in a normal healthy life as almost one fifth of the blood pumping out of the heart goes to kidneys. The main functions of kidneys involve filtering blood, producing urine and regulating the blood pressure. Urine that is produced by the nephrons finally drains into the ureters.

The small, tiny two kidneys performs various functions like

  1. Remove liquid waste from body in the form of urine
  2. Keep a balance of salts and other important substances in blood

The human kidney is almost the size of a computer mouse. One side of the kidney bulges outward and the other side are indented or are concave in shape. There is a cavity attached to the indented side of the kidney, called the renal pelvis which extends into the ureter.

Ureters

The ureters are narrow muscular tubes that are about 25 to 30 centimeters in length. It is continuous with the apex of the renal pelvis (kidney) and carries urine formed in the kidney to the urinary bladder. The ureters cross over from the abdominal to the pelvic cavities and run a short distance into the urinary bladder. There are three points where the ureters are slightly constricted compared to the rest of its luminal diameter:

  • where it communicates with the renal pelvis (apex)
  • where it crosses the pelvic inlet (lateral part of the pelvis)
  • where it penetrates the wall of the urinary bladder

There are two uterine tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Each ureter is about ten to twelve inches long. Each ureter enters the bladder through a tunnel in the bladder wall.

Urinary Bladder

In humans, urinary bladder is the organ that collects urine from kidneys before it gets disposed by urination. A hollow muscular organ that is located on pelvic floor has ureters above it urethra just below it. In women, the uterus lies slightly above the bladder and the vagina behind it while in men, the prostate gland lies immediately below the bladder.

Urethra

The main organ from where urine passes out of the body, urethra is a narrow tube. It significantly varies in men and women. While it stretches out to be almost 20 centimeters in men, it is just 4 centimeters long in women. As compared to men, urethra is narrower in women.

Female urethra is much simpler than the male urethra as it only carries urine. As compared to females, male urethra performs two functions. The two functions are urination and ejaculation.

Female urethra consists of three layers namely muscular, erectile, and mucous. Muscular layer is continuous with that of the bladder. The female urethra is placed behind the joint between the pubic bones of pelvis and embedded in the front wall of the vagina.

Female Urethra Vs Male Urethra

As female urethra is shorter in size as compared to male urethra, female urethra is more prone to infections and diseases. Urinary treat infections are common for female urethra than male urethra. Due to short in size, female urethra is impacted more by bacteria infections. Such infections reach bladder very easily.

Medical Problems of the Urethra

Aging and illness are the common factors that cause problems in the urinary system. As you age, kidneys loose on their ability to discharge waste and so various health related problems become a norm during aging. Even other organs like ureter, urethra and bladder lose out their strength. And if you have faced any injury or illness, kidneys may fail to filter blood completely that can lead to blockage in passing of urine.

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