The Urinary System is a group of organs in the body concerned with filtering out excess fluid and other substances from the bloodstream. The substances are filtered out from the body in the form ofurine. Urine is a liquid produced by thekidneys, collected in the bladder and excreted through the urethra. Urine is used to extract excess minerals or vitamins as well as blood corpuscles from the body. The Urinary organs include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The Urinary system works with the other systems of the body to help maintain homeostasis. The kidneys are the main organs of homeostasis because they maintain the acid base balance and the water salt balance of the blood.
The urinary system, also known as the renal system, produces, stores and eliminates urine, the fluid waste excreted by the kidneys. The kidneys make urine by filtering wastes and extra water from blood. Urine travels from the kidneys through two thin tubes called ureters and fills the bladder. When the bladder is full, a person urinates through the urethra to eliminate the waste.
The urinary system, also known as the renal system, consists of the kidneys,ureters,bladder, and the urethra. Each kidney consists of millions of functional units called nephrons. The purpose of the renal system is to eliminate wastes from the body, regulate blood volume and blood pressure, control levels of electrolytes and metabolites, and regulate blood pH. The kidneys have an extensive blood supply via the renal arteries which leave the kidneys via the renal vein. Following filtration of blood and further processing, wastes (in the form ofurine) exit the kidney via the ureters, tubes made of smooth muscle fibers that propel urine towards theurinary bladder, where it is stored and subsequently expelled from the body byurination(voiding).
Description of the urinary system
The urinary system works with the lungs, skin and intestines to maintain the balance of chemicals and water in the body. Adults eliminate about 27 to 68 fluid ounces (800 to 2,000 milliliters) per day based on typical daily fluid intake of 68 ounces (2 liters),National Institutes of Health(NIH). Other factors in urinary system function include fluid lost through perspiring and breathing. In addition, certain types of medications, such as diuretics that are sometimes used to treat high blood pressure, can also affect the amount of urine a person produces and eliminates. Some beverages, such as coffee and alcohol, can also cause increased urination in some people.
The primary organs of the urinary system are the kidneys, which are bean-shaped organs that are located just below the rib cage in the middleof the back. The kidneys remove urea — waste product formed by the breakdown of proteins — from the blood through small filtering units called nephrons, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Each nephron consists of a ball formed of small blood capillaries, called a glomerulus, and a small tube called a renal tubule. Urea, together with water and other waste substances, forms the urine as it passes through the nephrons and down the renal tubules of the kidney.From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes, called ureters, to the bladder. The ureters are about 8 to 10 inches long (20 to 25 centimeters), according to the Cleveland Clinic.Muscles in the ureter walls continuously tighten and relax to force urine away from the kidneys, according to the NIH. A backup of urine can cause a kidney infection. Small amounts of urine are emptied into the bladder from the ureters about every 10 to 15 seconds.The bladder is a hollow, balloon-shaped organ that is located in the pelvis. It is held in place by ligaments attached to other organs and the pelvic bones, according to the Kidney & Urology Foundation of America. The bladder stores urine until the brain signals the bladder that the person is ready to empty it. A normal, healthy bladder can hold up to 16 ounces (almost half a liter) of urine comfortably for two to five hours.To prevent leakage, circular muscles called sphincters close tightly around the opening of the bladder into the urethra, the tube that allowsurine to pass outside the body. The only difference between the female and male urinary system is the length of the urethra, according toMerck Manuals. In females, the urethra is about 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) to 2 inches (5.1 cm)long and sits between the clitoris and the vagina. In males, it runs the length of the penis, is about 8 inches (20 cm) long and opensat the end of the penis. The male urethra is used to eliminate urine as well as semen during ejaculation.
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs found along the posterior wall of the abdominal cavity. The left kidney is located slightly higher than the right kidney because the right side of theliveris much larger than the left side. The kidneys, unlike the other organs of the abdominal cavity, are located posterior to the peritoneum and touch themuscles of the back. The kidneys are surrounded by a layer of adipose that holds them in place and protects them from physical damage. The kidneys filter metabolic wastes, excess ions, and chemicals from the blood to form urine.
The ureters are a pair of tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. The ureters are about 10 to 12 inches long and run onthe left and right sides of the body parallel to thevertebral column. Gravity and peristalsis of smooth muscle tissue in the walls of the ureters move urine toward the urinary bladder. The endsof the ureters extend slightly into the urinary bladder and are sealed at the point of entry to the bladder by the ureterovesical valves. These valves prevent urine from flowing back towards the kidneys.
The urinary bladder is a sac-like hollow organ used for the storage of urine. The urinary bladder is located along the body’s midline at the inferior end of thepelvis. Urine entering the urinary bladder from the ureters slowly fills the hollow space of the bladder and stretches its elastic walls. The walls of the bladder allow it to stretch to hold anywhere from 600 to 800 milliliters of urine.UrethraTheurethrais the tube through which urine passes from the bladder to the exterior of the body. The female urethra is around 2 inches long and ends inferior to theclitorisand superior to the vaginal opening. In males, the urethra is around 8 to 10 inches long and ends at the tip of thepenis. The urethra is also an organ of themale reproductive system as it carries sperm out ofthe body through the penis.The flow of urine through the urethra
is controlled by the internal and external urethral sphincter muscles. The internal urethral sphincter is made of smooth muscle and opens involuntarily when the bladder reaches a certain set level of distention. The opening of the internal sphincter results in the sensation of needing to urinate. The external urethral sphincter is made of skeletal muscle and may be opened to allow urine to pass through the urethra or may be held closed to delay urination.
Functions of the urinary system
The kidneys maintain the homeostasis of several important internal conditions by controlling the excretion of substances out of the body.Ions the kidney can control the excretion of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and chloride ions into urine. In cases where these ions reach a higher than normal concentration, the kidneys can increase their excretion out of the body to return them to a normal level. Conversely, the kidneys can conservethese ions when they are present in lower than normal levels by allowing the ions to be reabsorbed into the blood during filtration.
The kidneys monitor and regulate the levels of hydrogen ions (H+) and bicarbonate ions in the blood to control blood pH. H+ ions are produced as a natural byproduct of the metabolism of dietary proteins and accumulate inthe blood over time. The kidneys excrete excess H+ ions into urine for elimination from the body. The kidneys also conserve bicarbonate ions,which act as important pH buffers in the blood.
The cells of the body need to grow in an isotonicenvironment in order to maintain their fluid and electrolyte balance. The kidneys maintain the body’s osmotic balance by controlling the amountof water that is filtered out of the blood and excreted into urine. When a person consumes a large amount of water, the kidneys reduce their reabsorption of water to allow the excess water to be excreted in urine. This results in the production of dilute, watery urine. In the case of the body being dehydrated, the kidneys reabsorb as much water as possible back into the blood to produce highly concentrated urine full of excretedions and wastes. The changes in excretion of water are controlled by antidiuretic hormone (ADH). ADH is produced in thehypothalamusand released by the posteriorpituitary glandto help the body retain water.
The kidneys monitor the body’s blood pressure to help maintain homeostasis. When blood pressure is elevated, the kidneys can help to reduce blood pressure by reducing the volume of blood in the body. The kidneys are able to reduce blood volume by reducing the reabsorption of water intothe blood and producing watery, dilute urine. When blood pressure becomes too low, the kidneyscan produce the enzyme renin to constrict blood vessels and produce concentrated urine, which allows more water to remain in the blood.Filtration Inside each kidney are around a million tiny structures called nephrons. The nephron is the functional unit of the kidney that filters blood toproduce urine. Arterioles in the kidneys deliver blood to a bundle of capillaries surrounded by a capsule called aglomerulus. As blood flows through the glomerulus, much of the blood’s plasma is pushed out of the capillaries and into the capsule, leaving the blood cells and a small amount of plasma to continue flowing through the capillaries. The liquid filtrate in the capsule flows through a series of tubules lined with filtering cells and surrounded by capillaries. The cells surrounding the tubules selectively absorb water and substances from the filtrate in the tubule and return it to the blood inthe capillaries. At the same time, waste productspresent in the blood are secreted into the filtrate. By the end of this process, the filtrate in the tubule has become urine containing only water, waste products, and excess ions. The blood exiting the capillaries has reabsorbed all of the nutrients along with most of the water and ions that the body needs to function.Storage and Excretion of WastesAfter urine has been produced by the kidneys, it is transported through the ureters to the urinary bladder. The urinary bladder fills with urine and stores it until the body is ready for its excretion. When the volume of the urinary bladder reaches anywhere from 150 to 400 milliliters, its walls begin to stretch and stretch receptors in its walls send signals to the brain and spinal cord. These signals result in the relaxation of the involuntary internal urethral sphincter and the sensation of needing to urinate.Urination may be delayed as long as the bladderdoes not exceed its maximum volume, but increasing nerve signals lead to greater discomfort and desire to urinate.Urination is the process of releasing urine from the urinary bladder through the urethra and out of the body. The process of urination begins when the muscles of the urethral sphincters relax, allowing urine to pass through the urethra. At the same time that the sphincters relax, the smooth muscle in the walls of the urinary bladdercontract to expel urine from the bladder. Production of Hormones
The kidneys produce and interact with several hormones that are involved in the control of systems outside of the urinary system.CalcitriolCalcitriol is the active form of vitamin D in thehuman body. It is produced by the kidneys from precursor molecules produced by UV radiation striking the skin. Calcitriol works together with parathyroid hormone (PTH) to raise the level of calcium ions in the bloodstream. When the level of calcium ions in the blood drops below a threshold level, theparathyroid glands release PTH, which in turn stimulates the kidneys to release calcitriol. Calcitriol promotes thesmall intestine to absorb calcium from food and depositit into the bloodstream. It also stimulates the osteoclasts of theskeletal systemto break down bone matrix to release calcium ions into the blood. Erythropoietin…Erythropoietin, also known as EPO, is a hormone that is produced by the kidneys to stimulate the production of red blood cells. The kidneys monitor the condition of the blood that passes through their capillaries, including the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. When theblood becomes hypoxic, meaning that it is carrying deficient levels of oxygen, cells lining the capillaries begin producing EPO and release it into the bloodstream. EPO travels through the blood to the red bone marrow, where it stimulates hematopoietic cells to increase their rate of red blood cell production. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, which greatly increasesthe blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity and effectively ends the hypoxic conditions.ReninRenin is not a hormone itself, but an enzyme that the kidneys produce to start the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The RAS increases blood volume and blood pressure in response to low blood pressure, blood loss, or dehydration. Renin is released into the blood where it catalyzes angiotensinogen from the liver into angiotensin I. Angiotensin I is further catalyzed by another enzyme into Angiotensin II.Angiotensin II stimulates several processes, including stimulating the adrenal cortex to produce the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone then changes the function of the kidneys to increase the reabsorption of water and sodium ions into the blood, increasing blood volume and raising blood pressure. Negative feedback from increased blood pressure finally turns off the RAS to maintain healthy blood pressure levels.