Discover Your Urinary System

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Do you ever wonder how often you should pass urine? Whether you have a healthy urinary system or not, various factors can alter your regular urinary frequency. Some of the reasons can be taking beverages excessively, age, cold weather, and others, which can cause diuresis (excessive urination).

In your normal healthy circumstance, your urinary frequency should average between six and seven times in a day. If your daily fluids (preferably water) intake is 2 liters, your normal urine discharge should amount to about 800 to 2,000 milliliters (27 and 68 fl oz) in a day.

What is the Meaning of Your Urine Color?

Your urine color tells about your body health. The filtered content in your urine alters the urine color. Most health practitioners often use urine samples to analyze some health issues.

If your urine is dark yellow, it means you are dehydrated. If it is almost transparent, you are taking enough water. If more transparent, it means you have over-hydrated yourself (which is not healthy).

More urine colors can indicate some urinary system disorders. For instance, cloudy urine may indicate an infected urinary system. The brown to deep red means a severe urinary disease such as an enlarged prostate or even cancer.

What is the Meaning of a Strong Urine Odor?

When your urine has a strong odor it is an indication of dehydration. The urine is very consentrated and can smell like ammonia. It might also be a sign of a UTI, diabetes, a bladder infection, or metabolic diseases. Increase your water intake and if it persists then consult a physician.

What is the Urinary System?

The urinary system or the renal system is one part of other body systems. The system connects to the digestive system in the excretion of liquid wastes and other molecule wastes from the blood. It also assists the circulatory system in maintaining plasma fluid balance.

The urinary system is a combination of some organs, muscles, tubes, and nerves.

Some organs in the renal system combine efforts in processing, storage, and elimination of urine. The urinary system is essential in keeping your body healthy and clean. The various functions of the urinary system complement other body systems in maintaining homeostasis.

Urinary System Organs

Although various organs, including blood vessels, are connected to the urinary system, the primary system's four main organs are the kidneys, ureters, the bladder, and urethra. Each organ has a unique role in completing the functions of the urinary system. 

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The Kidneys

Unless for medical reasons, you should have two kidneys, one on the left and another one on the right. The bean-shaped organs sit facing one another. They are located behind the abdominal wall and leaning against the back muscles.

Did you know that one kidney is higher than the other? Yes, the right kidney is lower than the left to create some space for the liver.

Each kidney contains approximately one million nephrons, some microscopic units that assist in the functions of the organs.

What creates urine? The filtration process moves through nephrons to remove wastes, reabsorbs nutrients, and secretes hydrogen ions to stabilize the pH level. The excess body water then results in the production of urine.

Functions of the Kidneys

The kidneys are essential for the operations of the urinary system. They perform some of the following services:

Blood Filtration

The kidneys are responsible for filtering wastes from the blood. The waste by-product after filtration is the urine, which is then eliminated from the body.

Eliminating Body wastes

After filtering the blood of all wastes and other substances such as sodium and water. Your urinary system then removes the waste product from the body in the form of urine. The urine contains urea, uric acid, ions, and others as a by-product of blood filtration.

Controlling the Blood Volume and Pressure

The surging of the blood volume can affect the arterial pressure in the circulatory system. One of the functions of the renal system through the kidneys is to regulate the blood volume to adjust your blood pressure.

The kidneys also produce hormones such as renin, erythropoietin, and calcitriol for making red blood cells from the bone marrow stem cell. The hormones help in controlling the blood pressure.

Regulating Body Sodium and Water

The kidneys balance the amount of water and sodium in the blood by excreting the excess through urination. The organs can also reabsorb sodium to retain water so that your body can maintain the right blood volume. The proper blood volume in an average-size adult ranges around 5 liters.

Regulates the levels of the metabolites and electrolytes

Your body must maintain the right levels of the metabolites and electrolytes, which is the responsibility of the kidneys. The kidneys filter and eliminate through urination the excess electrolytes and reabsorb the ones your body needs.

Kidney Diseases

Your kidneys are susceptible to diseases due to the wastes and toxins that pass through them when filtering blood. A healthy lifestyle and sufficient water intake can prevent or protect your kidneys against some diseases.

The number of kidney disease cases in American adults is approximately 37 million, which translates to 1 in every 7 adults or 15% of all adults in the US.

Some of the kidney diseases are:

Kidney stones

When minerals crystallize, they form hard substances, which in this case, are the kidney stones. Uric acid, calcium, and magnesium are some of the chemicals that crystallize to form kidney stones. Some of the causes leading to the condition are dehydration, decreased urine volume, certain medications, and other conditions such as gout. In severe cases, kidney stone disease can cause bloody urine.

Acute nephritis

An autoimmune disorder can lead to kidney inflammation, which can cause acute nephritis. If left untreated, the disease can worsen and manifest into kidney failure.

Kidney failure

Kidney failure is simply the kidneys failing to execute its functions, such as filtering the blood of wastes and toxins. Some conditions, such as diabetes, using certain drugs, or acute nephritis can cause kidney failure.

Kidney cysts

Kidney cysts should not cause any alarm albeit possible discomfort from fever or back pain. In most cases, the kidney cysts can be 'simple kidney cysts' with no serious complications. 

Polycystic kidney disease. 

Polycystic kidney disease (also called PKD) is a genetic disorder that causes clusters of fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys. PKD cysts can slowly replace much of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure.

Renal tubular acidosis (RTA)

Some kidney conditions, such as acute kidney injury or chronic kidney disease, can weaken your kidneys. Your kidneys then fail to balance pH level by removing excess acids and reabsorbing bicarbonate leading to acidic blood.

Uremia

Uremia is a severe kidney condition that, if left untreated, can lead to kidney failure. A severely damaged kidney can fail to filter toxins and wastes for elimination. Instead, the toxins such as urea and creatinine, find their way back to the circulatory system, causing uremia. 

Polycystic Kidney Disease Illustration

Ureters

The ureters are twin-tubes that attach to the kidneys to enter the bladder. Each tube removes urine from the kidney attached to it and empties in the bladder.

The tubes are made of muscular fibers and coated with mucus to protect the lining from infection and for smooth urine flow as the muscles contract and relax, a process called peristalsis. The ureter muscles contract between one and five times every minute. The involuntary contraction pushes spurts of urine along the tube and into the bladder.

Some motor impulses from your brain control the contraction and relaxation of the ureter muscles.

Diseases of the Ureter 

Ureteral Obstruction

Obstruction of one or both ureters can block urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder. Depending on the cause of the blockage, the condition is easily treatable. However, a severe blockage can lead to acute kidney conditions due to urine collection in the kidney.

Some causes of ureteral obstruction can include:

  • Ureteral stones – Some minerals can aggregate into stone-like clumps. The stones can then get caught up at the constricted section of the tube, causing a blockage.
  • Tuberculosis – Tuberculosis and other infections can cause swelling of the ureter wall and hence blockage.
  • Tissue growth – It is tissue growth due to some health conditions such as endometriosis (a condition in women).

Ureteritis

Ureteritis is the inflammation of the ureters. Ureteritis is grouped with other infections of the urinary tract. One of the common causes of ureteritis is the spread of some organisms from the urinary tract infections, adjacent infections such as appendicitis, or prostate infection which can reach the ureter through the lymphatic spread.

The Urethra

From the bladder, the urine flows to the urethra for urination. A healthy urethra can only receive urine after the brain signals the urge prompting the urethra sphincters to open. The urethra structure in male and female differ because of the connection to the reproductive organs.

The male urethra has a longer route than the female and hence the difference in length and structure.

Female Urethral Diseases

The female urethra is susceptible to infection and other diseases due to its proximity to the anus. Wiping from back to front can spread bacteria and other organisms to the urethra, causing infections.

Some of the female urethra diseases are:

Urethritis

Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra. The inflammation can cause pain when passing urine or during sexual intercourse. Some infections, such as STIs (Sexually Transmitted Disease) can cause urethritis. Also, since the anus and the vagina are close to one another, anal bacteria can quickly spread to the urethra, causing urethritis.

Urethral syndrome

Urethral syndrome is almost similar to urethritis. The condition causes urethra inflammation and irritation leading to painful urination. Different from urethritis, which is caused by either bacteria or viruses, the urethral syndrome is simply a urethra injury.

Some hygiene products, sexual activities, bike riding, and using tampons are some of the causes of urethral injury and hence urethral syndrome.

Urethral stricture

Urethral stricture is the narrowing or blocking of the urethra. Urethra injury and infections are some of the common causes of urethral stricture. Your doctor can correct the condition through minor surgery.

Urethral Cancer

Although it is a rare condition, especially in females, it can happen. You might fail to notice the disease during its early stages due to a lack of symptoms. At later stages, the disease can cause blood in the urine, discharge, low urine flow, and frequent short urination.

Male Urethral Diseases

The male urethra anatomy is different from the female urethra. It is divided into two sections, the posterior urethra, and the anterior urethra. The extended urethra in males has a higher risk of urethra diseases than in the female.

Some of the male urethra diseases include:

Urethral stricture

The male stricture can either be posterior stricture or anterior stricture depending on the affected section. The restraint can reduce urine flow due to the semi blockage.

Urethritis

Urethritis is the inflammation of the urethra. The condition can cause pain and difficulty in passing urine. Some of the common causes of urethritis are bacteria, viruses, and certain medicines.

Benign prostate enlargement

Also known as benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) is an enlargement of the prostate gland in men. The male urethra enters through the organ and hence gets affected by prostate enlargement. The gland presses on the urethra, causing stricture, which leads to difficulty urination.

UTI (urinary tract infection)

Although not very common in men, the UTI is another urinary disease that mostly affects the urethra. The infection can cause pain when passing urine.

The Bladder

From the kidneys, the urine moves through the ureter tubes down to the bladder. The bladder is the urine storage section. With the help of the nervous system, the bladder creates urination urge once it is full.

The muscular sac-like organ can stretch to hold as much urine as 400 to 600 ml. Once the bladder is full, the brain sends signals to create the urge to urinate. The muscles of the bladder then contract to remove the urine. The two urethra sphincters open to allow the urine to the next section, the urethra.

Urinary Bladder Diseases

Your urinary bladder, just like any other organ, is exposed to diseases. Some of the urinary bladder diseases include:

Cystitis

It is a bladder inflammation. The inflammation can cause severe abdominal and back pain. You can blame urinary tract infection, some medications, and hygiene products for bladder inflammation.

Once the bacteria-causing UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) penetrates the bladder, they start to multiply and worsen causing inflammation.

Urinary incontinence

One of the irritating and embarrassing conditions is the uncontrollable urine leaking. The urethra sphincters that remain shut until the bladder is ready to release urine can weaken and hence remain open, causing urinary incontinence.

Overactive bladder

It is another condition that can lead to urinary incontinence. Some causes for the overactive bladder can be damaged peripheral nerves, weak muscles, or the use of certain medicines.

Bloody urine

Also called hematuria is the presence of blood, sometimes very minimal amounts which can only be noticed through microscopic examination. In other cases, blood can be noticeable by either spotting your underwear or in the toilet after urination.

Such symptoms can signify bladder inflammation, bladder or kidney injury, kidney or ureter stones, kidney failure, or even cancer of either the bladder or kidney.

Bladder Cancer

Spotting blood in the urine can be bladder cancer. With immediate attention, your doctor could notice a possible tumor. Diagnosing the problem early enough can lead to early treatment.

Conclusion

Your urinary system, like most of the other body systems, performs its duties silently without needing your help. Like a 'drainage system,' it is the responsibility of your urinary system to flush out harmful metabolic waste from your blood through urination.

Your responsibility is to assist your urinary system to remain healthy.

How?

Exercise regularly, eat healthy organic foods free of toxins and plan for regular checkups. At Island Healthworks Clinic, we perform live blood analysis, along with a Zyto Body Scan. A session that takes 2 hours. With Yvonne Dollard Perc

You can contact us to book your consultation at 250.468.7680.

Remember to leave us your comments, thoughts, suggestions, and will surely get back to you.

Enjoy your health, which is your wealth!! 


Elizabeth Njuguna is a freelance writer, with a focus on natural health. Her aim is to promote healthy lifestyles through information. Connect with Elizabeth at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Editor: Yvonne Dollard Perc
Research Assistant: Elizabeth Njuguna

Designer: Sherry Robb 


This article is intended for educational purposes and the information contained within is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any disease or health problem. Please seek appropriate medical attention for any health complaints. We cannot take responsibility for your health care decisions. Our intent is only to offer health information to help you with your search for better health. 

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Tuesday, 26 May 2020