What does your urinary tract do, anyway?
It’s a typical Tuesday Morning. Sunlight is shining through your window, birds are chirping outside. OK, time to start your day. You roll out of bed and immediately relieve your bladder. Your pee is a product of your urinary systems hard work—the first thing you have to thank it for.
Next, you make your way over to the kitchen and start preparing breakfast and that much-needed cup of coffee. Once your digestive system breakdowns your food you will have tons of energy to start your day. However, every time your body metabolizes nutrients, there is chemical waste aka ammonia left in your blood. This is where your urinary system really comes to the rescue!
The key players in your urinary tract are your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra.
Kidneys: Your kidneys do most of the heavy lifting, at any given moment they hold over 20% of your total blood volume. Once blood enters your kidneys, chemical waste is separated and gets processed into urine.
Ureters: From your kidney, the urine releases into your ureters, two thin tubes that connect your kidney to your bladder. Your urine is now well on its way out of your body.
Bladder: The next stop for your urine is the bladder where your urine is stored until it is ready to be released. Your bladder is the perfect storage container because it is made of smooth muscle that expands when your bladder is full and collapses when your bladder is less full. Always fitting its shape to your needs. When you decide it’s time to use the toilet, your urine flows from your bladder to exit your body via your urethra.
Urethra: For women, your urethra is a 4-6cm long tube that runs from your bladder to an external opening in your vagina. A woman’s urethra is more likely to become infected due to bacteria in her vagina. That is why regular cleansing is so important for women.
Not only does your urinary tract excrete waste, it regulates water volume, pH, and also influences red blood cell production and blood pressure. Your urinary tract is hard at work 24/7 to keep your body in tip-top shape. That is why it is important to keep your urinary tract happy and healthy.
How can you keep your urinary tract healthy? By not waiting too long to use the bathroom, staying hydrated, and proper hygiene. Making sure you shower thoroughly after swimming, exercise, and sex. Spicy and acidic food can irritate your urinary tract as well as caffeine and nicotine. If you believe diet could be the culprit to your urinary tract discomfort, try eliminating specific foods for two to three weeks to see if symptoms improve.
Every morning when we wake up the last thing on our mind is probably our urinary tract, but it is important to understand our bodies in order to make good decisions day to day so we can help our bodies take care of ourselves.