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Medicine LibreTexts

25: The Urinary System

  • 25.0: Prelude to the Urinary System
    The urinary system has roles you may be well aware of: cleansing the blood and ridding the body of wastes probably come to mind. However, there are additional, equally important functions played by the system.
  • 25.1: Physical Characteristics of Urine
    Characteristics of the urine change, depending on influences such as water intake, exercise, environmental temperature, nutrient intake, and other factors (Table 25.1.1). Some of the characteristics such as color and odor are rough descriptors of your state of hydration. For example, if you exercise or work outside, and sweat a great deal, your urine will turn darker and produce a slight odor, even if you drink plenty of water. Athletes are often advised to consume water until urine is cleear.
  • 25.2: Gross Anatomy of Urine Transport
    Rather than start with urine formation, this section will start with urine excretion. Urine is a fluid of variable composition that requires specialized structures to remove it from the body safely and efficiently. Blood is filtered, and the filtrate is transformed into urine at a relatively constant rate throughout the day. This processed liquid is stored until a convenient time for excretion.
  • 25.3: Gross Anatomy of the Kidney
  • 25.4: Microscopic Anatomy of the Kidney
    The renal structures that conduct the essential work of the kidney cannot be seen by the naked eye. Only a light or electron microscope can reveal these structures. Even then, serial sections and computer reconstruction are necessary to give us a comprehensive view of the functional anatomy of the nephron and its associated blood vessels.
  • 25.5: Physiology of Urine Formation
    Having reviewed the anatomy and microanatomy of the urinary system, now is the time to focus on the physiology. You will discover that different parts of the nephron utilize specific processes to produce urine: filtration, reabsorption, and secretion. You will learn how each of these processes works and where they occur along the nephron and collecting ducts. The physiologic goal is to modify the composition of the plasma and, in doing so, produce the waste product urine.
  • 25.6: Tubular Reabsorption
    With up to 180 liters per day passing through the nephrons of the kidney, it is quite obvious that most of that fluid and its contents must be reabsorbed. That recovery occurs in the PCT, loop of Henle, DCT, and the collecting ducts ). Various portions of the nephron differ in their capacity to reabsorb water and specific solutes.
  • 25.7: Regulation of Renal Blood Flow
    It is vital that the flow of blood through the kidney be at a suitable rate to allow for filtration. This rate determines how much solute is retained or discarded, how much water is retained or discarded, and ultimately, the osmolarity of blood and the blood pressure of the body.
  • 25.8: Endocrine Regulation of Kidney Function
    Several hormones have specific, important roles in regulating kidney function. They act to stimulate or inhibit blood flow. Some of these are endocrine, acting from a distance, whereas others are paracrine, acting locally.
  • 25.9: Regulation of Fluid Volume and Composition
    The major hormones influencing total body water are ADH, aldosterone, and ANH. Circumstances that lead to fluid depletion in the body include blood loss and dehydration. Homeostasis requires that volume and osmolarity be preserved. Blood volume is important in maintaining sufficient blood pressure, and there are nonrenal mechanisms involved in its preservation, including vasoconstriction, which can act within seconds of a drop in pressure.
  • 25.10: The Urinary System and Homeostasis
    All systems of the body are interrelated. A change in one system may affect all other systems in the body, with mild to devastating effects. A failure of urinary continence can be embarrassing and inconvenient, but is not life threatening. The loss of other urinary functions may prove fatal. A failure to synthesize vitamin D is one such example.