How Your Body Makes, Stores, and Releases Urine

Understanding Your Body provides easy-to-understand explanations of body systems and disease conditions. This material can be used for patient education, life sciences curriculum development, or to enhance public understanding of general health concepts. Permission for such use is not required, but citation as to source is requested. The information provided is derived from Consumer Versions of Clinical Practice Guidelines, sponsored by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, from 1992 to 1996.

When you eat and drink, your body absorbs the liquid. The kidneys filter out waste products from the body fluids and make urine.

Urine travels down tubes called ureters into a muscular sac called the urinary bladder, which stores the urine.

When you are ready to go to the bathroom, your brain tells your system to relax.

Urine travels out of your bladder through a tube called the urethra. You release urine by relaxing the urethral sphincter and contracting the bladder muscles. The urethral sphincter is a group of muscles that tightens to hold urine in and loosens to let it out.

The Female Urinary Tract System [pictured on the left] shows the internal organs along the path urine follows to leave the body.  The image shows the placement of the Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder, Bladder Neck, Urinary Sphincter and Urethrea. The Male Urinary Tract System [pictured on the right] also shows the internal organs along the path urine follows to leave the body.  The image shows the placement of the Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder, Bladder Neck, Prostate, Urinary Spincter and Urethra.

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Current as of November 2007
Internet Citation: How Your Body Makes, Stores, and Releases Urine. November 2007. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/patients-consumers/prevention/understanding/bodysys/edbody3.html