Image by Robina Weermeijer

Organ Systems

Urinary System

The urinary system is composed of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, sphincter muscles, and urethra. The urinary system filters blood through the kidneys to eliminate waste products such as toxins, salt, and water from the body in a substance called urine. Urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters, into the bladder, and out through the urethra. The sphincter muscles control when urine is able to travel from the bladder, through the urethra, and outside the body. Healthy urine is a pale/transparent yellow color while dark urine can be a sign of dehydration or liver problems. Pink or red urine can be a sign of hematuria, or blood in the urine. The kidneys also secrete hormones called erythropoietin, which plays a role in blood cell formation, and renin, which helps control blood pressure. The urinary system is also in charge of maintaining fluid volume and the composition of body fluids, maintaining electrolyte concentration within the body, and maintaining normal blood pH. To maintain a healthy urinary system, one should drink plenty of fluids, make healthy food and lifestyle choices, maintain regular bowel movements, urinate when the urge is felt, practice safe sex, urinate promptly after having sexual intercourse (for women), and practice pelvic floor, or Kegel, exercises.

Diagram of the Male Urinary System

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Diagram of the Female Urinary System

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Resources

Cincinnati Children's. (2019, May). Urinary system anatomy and function. https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/u/urinary-system

Cleveland Clinic. (2019, December 5). Urinary system. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/21197-urinary-system

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Anatomy of the urinary system. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/anatomy-of-the-urinary-system

National Cancer Institute. (n.d.). Introduction to the urinary system. https://training.seer.cancer.gov/anatomy/urinary/

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2020, June). The urinary tract & how it works. National Institutes of Health. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/urinary-tract-how-it-works.