Going “number one” is a frequent, mundane activity that most people take for granted. However, at some point in your life, there might come a time when you have some health issues with your urinary tract. In times like this, it’s beneficial to understand the basics about the urinary system.
What is the urinary tract?
The urinary tract is all the organs and tissues that take part in the body’s process of excreting urine. In order for the body to function well, all parts of the urinary tract need to work properly and in the correct order. The urinary tract plays a vital role that the human body can’t do without. Its purpose is to remove wastes from the bloodstream which would otherwise cause toxicity to build up in the body to the point where a person would likely die.
The organs and body parts of the urinary system include the following:
People have two bean-shaped organs below the rib cage on either side of the spine called the kidneys. These are the organs that filter wastes from the blood and produce urine. The kidneys produce up to 2 quarts of urine per day, and a person has no conscious ability to alter their function. The ureters are muscular tubes that move urine from the kidneys into the bladder.
The bladder is a hollow sack composed of muscle tissue located between the pelvic bones. It functions like a balloon that expands to hold up to 2 cups of urine. A healthy person should have control over when the bladder is emptied. When the bladder is full, the brain receives signals that urge you to urinate. When urinating, fluid passes out of the bladder and exits the body through the urethra.
The urination process
The bladder stores urine until a person decides to use the bathroom. The frequency that a person has the urge to urinate mainly depends on how quickly urine is produced by the kidneys. While the bladder is filling with urine, the muscles of the organ remain relaxed. When urinating, the brain sends a signal to the bladder muscle to tighten and squeeze fluid out through the urethra.
There are three sets of muscles that control the release and flow of urine. The area where the urethra joins the bladder is the bladder neck which keeps urine in the bladder until it’s time to urinate. The urethra and pelvic floor muscles help control the flow of urine as it passes out of the body.
The urinary tract is important for eliminating waste, and it’s also crucial for controlling the levels of electrolytes such as salt, magnesium and potassium. The kidneys also support other bodily functions including hormone and blood cell production. Next time your doctor talks to you about your urinary health, these facts will provide a foundation for greater understanding of the advice that you’re given.