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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of your urinary system

an illustration showing two kidneys with ureters taking urine from the kidneys to the bladder and the urethra taking urine from the bladderYour urinary system includes two kidneys that remove waste products from your body and control the amount of water in your blood. The waste products and excess water form urine (wee).

Each kidney drains the urine into your bladder through a thin tube called the ureter.

The bladder is a muscular storage sac-like organ that sits in your pelvis. It stores the urine until you're ready to empty it by going to the toilet. Your bladder gets bigger as it fills with urine. Your brain sends messages to your bladder telling it when to hold and when to empty the urine.

When you go to the toilet, your bladder muscles (called urethral sphincters) and your pelvic floor muscles relax. This allows your bladder to squeeze the urine out. The urine leaves your bladder through a thin tube called the urethra.

Your urethra and bladder make up your lower urinary tract. Your ureters and kidneys make up your upper urinary tract.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created November 2019.

Page reference: 628310

Review key: HIURS-53047