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Urinary system diagram

From the blood circulating within it, the
kidneys filter urea which then travels from the
ureter to the bladder to be expelled as urine.

While solids are expelled by the digestive system, liquid wastes are eliminated via the urinary system.

The urinary system starts in the kidneys, bean shaped organs that are roughly the size of a human fist.

Kidneys filter and regulate the blood in a number of different ways, but for the purposes of the urinary system, the important filtering is of urea - the nitrogen based waste product that the kidneys remove from the bloodstream.

From there it is sent along the tubular shaped ureter to the next part of the urinary system, the bladder.

The bladder is a hollow organ comprised of muscle tissue that swells and deflates based on how much liquid it contains.

Since the average bladder can hold roughly one liter of liquid (but not comfortably), nerve endings in the bladder wall will signal the brain when it's time to be emptied.

Urination, which is fortunately a conscious process, commences when the muscles of the bladder contract, forcing the liquid it contains to exit the body via the urethra.

Maintaining a healthy urinary system

The urinary system determines how much waste should be eliminated based partly on how much water there is in the body.

Therefore, keeping properly hydrated through the day not only serves to keep the urinary system flushed of harmful salts and minerals, but by extension keeps all bodily functions in good working order.

Along with plenty of water, watching the foods we eat is also important in maintaining urinary system health.

A diet high in fat especially may lead to the formation of kidney stones, and being overweight can also lead to related illnesses by putting extra pressure on the organs of the urinary system.

Good hygiene is also important to preventing urinary tract infections (UTI's) especially in women, who are more prone to the condition due to their particular anatomy, which situates the urethral opening very close to the vagina and anus. A simple way for women to combat infection, say doctors, is by wiping the genital area back to front after urinating or defecating to avoid introducing bacteria into the urethral opening.

More about the urinary system around the Web:

Your Urinary System and How It Works - Extensive overview with detailed information on urinary system functions, problems and disorders, plus surf the left hand menu for an A-Z article library with more information on kidney and bladder disease, urinary tract infections, treatment options and health advice.

The Urinary System - Comprehensive overview including kidney and bladder function, urine production, plus related illustrations and glossary, with more on urinary system disorders with related diet and health tips.

Your Urinary System - Excellent kid's guide to the kidneys and bladder, with related resources including feature stories on kidney anatomy, bed wetting.


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