Diseases of the Urinogenital System

T he parts of the urinogenital tract that produce and get rid of urine are the same for men and women: the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. To understand some of the problems that can arise from diseases of the urinary tract, it is necessary to know a few facts about the anatomy and function of these parts.

The two kidneys are located on either side of the spinal column in the back portion of the abdomen between the last rib and the third lumbar vertebra of the spine. They are shaped like the beans named after them but are considerably larger.

Their function is to filter and cleanse the blood of waste substances produced in the course of normal living and, together with some other organs, to maintain a proper balance of body fluids. The kidneys do this job by filtering the fluid portion of the blood as it passes through them, returning the necessary solids and water to the bloodstream, and removing waste products and excess water, called urine . These products then flow into the ureters , the ducts that connect the kidneys and bladder.

The bladder holds the urine until voiding occurs. The duct from the bladder to the urinary opening is called the urethra . In the male, it passes through the penis; in the female, in front of the anterior wall of the vagina.

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