The Basics Of The Urinary Tract and Urination
The Basics Of The Urinary Tract and Urination
The urinary tract is a vital piece of the intricate puzzle of the human body. It serves to safely remove urine, waste, and excess fluids from your system. Let’s look at each of the main parts of the urinary tract to learn more about what each of them does and how each contributes to how the system functions as a whole.
The urinary tract includes two kidneys, one on each side of the spine, that filter an average of 120 to 150 quarts of blood a day. The blood is cleaned, and the kidneys release the waste and excess fluid in the form of urine. Kidneys that are functioning normally serve to prevent the buildup of waste and excess fluid in the body, and they also serve a number of other purposes. Age, illness, and injury can all negatively affect the kidneys.
When urine is released by the kidneys, it travels to the bladder via long, thin tubes called ureters. These tubes are very muscular, and they use a combination of gravity and muscular contractions to move urine away from the kidneys and into the bladder.
The bladder is a hollow, muscular organ located between the pelvic bones, and it’s primary function is to store urine. A typical bladder can store between one and a half and two cups of urine; as it fills, signals alert the brain that urination will be necessary soon. When a person urinates, he or she contracts the muscles of the bladder wall, which were relaxed while the bladder was filling up. When the bladder contracts, the urine empties through the urethra, which is attached to the bottom of the bladder.
What Is Urine?
Urine is a chemically-complex fluid of about 95 percent water that is secreted by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and released through the urethra in order to expel waste, salts, urea (a byproduct of protein breakdown), and excess water from your body. The color of urine typically falls somewhere between clear and dark yellow depending on the person’s hydration levels and overall health. Find out what the color of your urine is trying to tell you.
How Does The Body Control Urination?
Please note that all of the following information is geared toward female urinary anatomy.
Located in the bladder wall, your detrusor muscle relaxes and contracts in order to fill and empty your bladder. While the bladder fills, the muscle is relaxed. At about halfway full, sensors within the bladder alert your brain, and a reflex signal is sent to the detrusor muscle, causing it to contract. This creates pressure within your bladder, which alerts you that it is time to release the stored urine. For people who struggle with urge incontinence (expulsion of urine despite conscious resistance), it is possible that the sensors within the bladder are not working correctly. When these sensors misbehave, your detrusor muscle can contract at the wrong time, and you may feel as if you need to urinate even when your bladder is empty.
Internal & External Sphincters
Controlled by the autonomic (or involuntary) nervous system, the internal sphincter keeps the bladder neck in place and helps to control the release of urine. The external sphincter, which is under your control, also aids in controlling the passing of urine. During urination, your brain tells your internal sphincter to relax, and you must relax the external sphincter yourself in order to pass the urine. Damage to your sphincters can cause stress incontinence, which is the release of urine due to muscle exertion, such as when you leak from laughing, sneezing, or coughing.
A woman’s womb, bowels, and bladder are all supported by a group of muscles known as the pelvic floor. In addition to holding all of these systems where they need to be, the pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for holding the urethra closed while you’re not passing urine, contracting during muscle exertion such as when you’re laughing, sneezing, or coughing to prevent leaks, and other functions. During urination, the brain tells your pelvic floor muscles to relax. A weak pelvic floor can cause urine leakage, accidents, and more serious conditions, such as prolapse, where organs slip down.
To learn more about your urinary tract and bladder health, browse our other blog topics. For relief from your urinary incontinence symptoms, whether you struggle with nighttime frequency or daily accidents, try our all natural supplement Healthy Bladder Plus™. Our supplement is clinically-proven to promote a healthy bladder. This incontinence treatment can improve your bladder health by ensuring healthy detrusor muscle function, promoting regular frequency, maintaining normalized neuromuscular signaling, and more. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have.