The Urology Associates of South Bend are experts when it comes to the urinary system. They are the experts so that you don’t have to be. But if you’re curious about your urinary system, especially if it’s with the goal of taking better care of your body, we have the rundown for you.
What is the Urinary System?
Put simply, the urinary system creates, stores, and carries urine. It is made up of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. But the only way it works is when the rest of the body is doing its job.
When you eat or drink, your body pulls the nutrients it needs from that food. What’s left over is what we call waste. This waste is left in either the bowel or the blood. The urinary system filters the blood and gets rid of the waste. This liquid waste is called urea.
Urea flows through the blood stream to your kidneys where it is filtered of waste substances and water, forming urine. Learn more about the kidneys and how they work HERE.
Once through the kidneys, the urine makes its way through the ureters. The ureters are two tubes that run out of the kidneys. The muscles in the walls of the ureters contract to push urine down out of the kidneys. If this constant flow (yes, the ureters are pushing urine through all day long) gets backed up for one reason or another, a kidney infection could develop.
The urine then flows from the ureters into the bladder which can hold up to two cups of urine for up to 5 hours in healthy adults. There are nerves in the bladder that let you know when it is time to empty your bladder. When that time comes, the bladder walls contract and flatten, pushing the urine out through the urethra. The sphincter muscles act like rubber bands around the bladder opening to prevent leakage, but when the bladder nerves signal it’s time to empty, the sphincter muscles relax. All of these things work together for a successful elimination of waste, making up the urinary system.
What Causes Urinary System Issues?
As with all the systems in our bodies, if just one piece of the process isn’t working quite right, everything gets messed up. The usual suspects are the cause of urinary system issues: aging, illness, and injury.
As we age, our muscles tend to lose strength. This is true even for the muscles deep inside our bodies. Weak bladder wall muscles could lead to the bladder not emptying completely. Weak sphincter muscles could cause unwanted leakage called incontinence. Meanwhile, the kidneys can begin to lose their ability to filter the blood as well as necessary.
Some of the more common disorders include:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: a condition in men when the prostate is enlarged, inhibiting urine flow.
- Kidney Stones: these stones are clumps of excess minerals and salts that form in the kidneys.
- Urinary Tract Infections: A UTI is an infection in any area of the urinary system.
- Prostatitis: inflammation of the prostate that can cause urgency and pain.
Urology Associates of South Bend
Now that you know a little more about the urinary system, it’s time to start taking better care of it. If you are concerned that you may have urinary system issues, do not hesitate to call the Urology Associates of South Bend. They are truly the experts with both the knowledge and the compassion necessary to walk you through caring for your urinary system.