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What is the urinary tract?

Jill Rabin
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)

The urinary tract is the passageway through which bodily waste products are filtered and through which urine is produced, stored, and excreted. The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and the ureters that are attached to them. The bladder and the urethra are in the lower urinary tract.

We remain continent when the organs (kidneys, bladder, brain), tubes (ureters and the urethra), and muscles (sphincter muscles and the pelvic floor muscles), as well as the spinal cord, that comprise and control the urinary tract function properly. Continence is achieved when the entire urinary system works like a well-tuned motor: when there is normal lower urinary tract support and normal functioning of the sphincter muscles.

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The main function of the urinary tract is to remove wastes and fluid from the body. The urinary tract has four parts: the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Urine is formed when the kidneys filter blood and remove excess waste materials and fluid. The urine collects into a part of the kidney called the renal pelvis. From the renal pelvis, the urine travels down a narrow tube called the ureter into the bladder. The bladder slowly fills up with urine, which empties from the body through another small tube called the urethra.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.