What is urinary tract health?
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.
First, the kidneys produce urine while filtering waste products from the blood. Urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder for storage through two tubes called ureters. The balloon-like bladder empties by pushing the urine through a tube at the bladder’s bottom called the urethra. The opening for the urethra is in front of the vagina in females, and at the tip of the penis in males.
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 tract as a whole, or just certain parts of the urinary tract, such as the bladder.
This section focuses on two of the more common disorders related to the urinary tract health of women: Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) and Urinary Incontinence (UI).
For information on a range of urinary tract health issues for women, men, and children, visit the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse at http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/.