Overview of the Urinary System

Key features of the urinary system:

Kidneys

  • Paired, right is lower than left
  • Hilum is medial cleft for vessels and ureters to pass
  • Supplied by renal artery and vein
  • Filter the blood to produce urine

Ureters

  • Carry urine away from the kidneys, to the urinary bladder

Urinary bladder

  • Lies within the pelvis
  • Stores and expels urine

Urethra

  • Carries urine to the external environment
  • Orifices are regulated by internal and external sphincters

Regulatory functions

  • Regulates blood volume, and indirectly, blood pressure; in dialysis patients, the amount of blood volume removed has a significant impact on their blood pressure.
  • Regulates erythrocyte production
  • Regulates ion balance, and, therefore, the acid/base balance (pH) of the blood.

Clinical Correlations:

  • Urinary tract infections (UTI) are one of the most common forms of infection and can involve any part of the urinary system; infection that spreads to the kidneys, called pyelonephritis, can have serious health consequences.
  • Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form within the kidney and pass through the urinary system; they can be quite painful, and if they become lodged, they may require surgical extraction.

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