How the Urinary System Works
The urinary system is made up of the adrenal glands, renal arteries, the kidneys, aorta, ureters, common iliac arteries, urinary bladder, urethra, and in men, the prostate. As food enters the body, various cells break it down into energy. As the energy is released, so are various chemical byproducts that then collect in the bloodstream. The kidneys cleanse the blood of this waste and turns it into urine. Next, the ureters transport the urine to the urinary bladder. The bladder then expands to accommodate the extra fluid. When it stretches to its limit, urine is then sent to the urethra and out of the body. In men, urine also passes through the prostrate before it is released.
The urinary system, like all systems in the body, does not work alone. It has an interdependent relationship with the endocrine system, the circulatory system, the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. The adrenal glands, also a part of the endocrine system, secrete a chemical substance that allows the kidneys to effectively regulate fluids in the body. This process is directly related to blood pressure and the circulatory system. The urinary system is also closely related to the circulatory system by virtue of the processes of cleansing the blood of waste, removing excess fluids and generally keeping other fluids in balance. The nervous and musculoskeletal systems also play a part. They work in concert with the urinary system to regulate the release of urine. Children still in diapers have yet to develop these systems fully. The bladder is a muscle that can expand and contract as necessary to accommodate or expel urine. When the bladder is full, the nervous system receives messages that it is time to go. The muscles in the bladder and urethra help us to "hold it" when no bathroom is in sight.
The Importance of Urinary Health
Since the urinary system is so interdependent with other systems in the body, its failure to operate effectively can have serious health effects. The kidneys in particular are susceptible to a host of problems. While some problems are inherited and often untreatable, there are many things that the average person can do to ensure that kidney problems do not develop. First, a good exercise regimen and healthy diet are essential. People should drink plenty of water and limit intake of soda, tea and coffee. Certain drugs can have adverse effects on the kidneys, so it is important to discuss concerns with a doctor. Finally, blood pressure should be monitored regularly. High blood pressure is often an indicator of kidney problems. If the problem is caught early, it can usually be resolved.