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Urinary Tract: Anatomy (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:00 Hi! And welcome to our video series on The Urinary Tract.

    00:04 Or as I like to call it, The Body's Drainage System.

    00:08 Now when we're talking about the urinary tract, I want you to have an idea of all the features that we're talking about.

    00:13 So we've got the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra.

    00:18 So there are four parts to the urinary tract: Kidneys, ureters, - one for each one, the bladder, and the urethra.

    00:27 So you know the kidneys play a really important role in removing waste and reabsorbing what we do want, then they're going to empty out through the ureters to fill the bladder and the urethra is the last exit out of the body.

    00:41 And now a question for you.

    00:43 Which parts of the urinary tract are most often involved in a UTI? Well, UTI can actually be any part of your urinary system: the kidney, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

    00:57 But most often you're going to see either the urethra and the bladder.

    01:01 Think about young female patients when they're just learning how to clean themselves after using the bathroom.

    01:07 Oftentimes, they contaminate that spot with E. coli because they're not wiping appropriately from front to back.

    01:13 Now, that E. coli can travel up that urethra into the bladder, and that's what causes a bladder infection.

    01:19 Now, if that gets out of control, that infection can travel up the ureters to the kidneys.

    01:24 So let's be clear.

    01:26 Most infections involve the urethra or the bladder.

    01:29 Those where we most often will see a UTI.

    01:32 However, if it progresses, it can easily travel up those ureters and into the kidneys.

    01:37 And now we have something much more complex than just a basic bladder infection.

    01:42 So anywhere in the UTI infection is a risk.

    01:46 You're most often likely to see it in the bladder or the urethra and that's why it really burns when you pee.

    01:51 But if the bacteria travels up the ureters to the kidney, we have a much more serious problem.

    01:57 To the kidneys, they're really amazing.

    01:59 They are located on each side of your spine.

    02:01 Remember, they're more toward the back of your body.

    02:04 But they can filter somewhere between 120 and 150 liters of blood every day.

    02:09 Now, that is a lot of volume.

    02:12 They filter 120 to 150 liters, but they only produce about one to two liters of urine because have to keep a lot of that volume on board to keep me alive.

    02:24 The ureters are these tiny thin tubes of muscle.

    02:28 They're pretty amazing.

    02:30 They carry urine from each of the kidneys down into the bladder.

    02:34 Now this can be problematic when those become blocked.

    02:37 For example, in a kidney stone.

    02:39 When that moves out of the kidney, travels into the ureter, now you've got a blockage.

    02:45 If you've ever seen an ER nurse, they can diagnose a kidney stone a mile away.

    02:49 When that patient walks in.

    02:51 They feel like they're going to die.

    02:53 In fact, they want to die because the pain is excruciating.

    02:57 So it's to everyone's benefit that those ureters, both of them stay open so they can drain urine from the kidneys into the bladder.

    03:06 Alright, so we've talked about the kidneys, draining through the ureters into the bladder.

    03:11 Now, let's look at the bladder.

    03:13 Now it's located in the pelvis, right between the pelvic bones.

    03:17 Now, it's hollow.

    03:18 It's muscular, it's shaped kind of like a balloon.

    03:21 And it's this organ that is capable of expanding as it fills with urine.

    03:26 Now most of us have had that experience when we've let it overfill.

    03:30 And we'll talk about why that shoots a pain message to your brain? Now, most of us after potty training, so pretty young kids, we were able to learn to voluntarily control our bladder.

    03:41 I don't have any control over my kidneys in what they do.

    03:44 But I can control my bladder when I can hold my urine in or when it's time to release urine.

    03:49 So think of it as like this storage tank, right.

    03:52 It's the storage tank for the urine that the kidneys deliver via the ureters.

    03:58 Now here's a tip, your bladder is supposed to hold about 360 to 480 mL of urine.

    04:06 But I guarantee you every one of us has pushed it way beyond its max of 480, which is when you've had that panic feeling that you might not make it to the restroom in time.

    04:16 Okay, so we've done the kidneys.

    04:18 We've talked about the ureters.

    04:20 We've looked at the bladder.

    04:21 Now we're going to look at the urethra.

    04:23 Now this will separate male anatomy from female anatomy.

    04:28 We know that the bladder empties through the urethra, but they're very different in male and female bodies.

    04:33 Now if you look at the pictures we have there, you can see the bladder and the urethra.

    04:38 Start to look at some of the differences you notice between the male and female urethra.

    04:44 The female urethra is about 4 centimeters long.

    04:48 And that's not very long, which is why it's very common for women to develop bladder infections.

    04:54 And so much shorter trip direct shot into the bladder.

    04:58 Males in comparison, their average length of urethra is 20 centimeters.

    05:04 So female, 4 centimeters long, males 20 centimeters long.

    05:10 and it's got some other structures to pass through.

    05:12 Now men end up having problems later in life when their prostate gets a little bigger.

    05:18 See that there you see the prosthetic urethra, that's the part that travels through the prostate.

    05:23 As men age, my prostate gets bigger and bigger.

    05:26 It can kind of squeeze down on that urethra making it difficult for them to fully empty their bladder and they feel like they have to pee a lot.

    05:33 And then very disappointed when only a little bit dribbles out.

    05:37 Now there are other names to the parts of the urethra.

    05:40 The woman's really isn't even long enough to give it different names.

    05:43 But in the male, we just talked about the prostatic urethra.

    05:46 There's the membranous urethra, the bulbar urethra, and the penile urethra.

    05:51 So remember, a male urethra is about five times the length of a female urethra.

    05:57 Which is why if a man is diagnosed with a UTI, it's usually considered a complicated one because something pretty significant had to go on for bacteria to travel that far up.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Urinary Tract: Anatomy (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Review: Anatomy and Physiology of the Renal and Urinary System (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Urethra
    2. Kidneys
    3. Ureters
    4. Bladder
    5. Glomerulus
    1. Bladder and urethra
    2. Urethra and kidneys
    3. Ureters and urethra
    4. Bladder and kidneys
    1. 20 cm
    2. 4 cm
    3. 15 cm
    4. 25 cm

    Author of lecture Urinary Tract: Anatomy (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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