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Urinary Tract Health: Overview

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The urinary (pronounced YOOR-uh-ner-ee) tract―made up of the kidneys, the bladder, and the tubes leading to and from these organs (the ureters and the urethra)―produces urine and eliminates it from the body.

Urinary tract health refers to how well the system works at removing wastes and producing and controlling urine, as well as any disorders or problems that might occur within the tract. These problems can affect the urinary tract as a whole, or just certain parts of the tract, such as the bladder. There are many disorders and problems that can affect urinary tract health.

The NICHD is one of several NIH Institutes that work to advance understanding of urinary tract health in women, men, children, and those with disabilities. Although the Institute conducts and supports research on a broad range of topics, the condition information in this section focuses on two of the more common urinary tract health problems faced by women:

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • Leakage of urine—also called Urinary Incontinence (UI)

For information on a range of urinary tract health issues that affect women, men, and children, visit the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse at

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Common Names

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Urinary incontinence (UI)

Medical or Scientific Names

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Urinary incontinence (UI)
BOND National Institues of Health Home Home Division of Intramural Population Health Research