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What is a urostomy?

The normal urinary system

      Diagram of the normal urinary system

Kidneys: The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are fixed to the upper back wall of the abdominal cavity. One kidney is just to the left and the other just to the right of the spine. Both are protected by the lower ribcage. Their main job is to filter the blood to remove excess water, salt, and waste products – these become urine. They also help make sure the body has enough red blood cells by making a hormone called erythropoietin, which tells the bone marrow to make more red blood cells.

Ureters: The 2 ureters are 10- to 12-inch long tubes from the kidneys to the bladder. They carry away urine as it is made by kidneys. Muscle squeezing (called peristalsis) pushes the urine down the ureters and into the bladder.

Bladder: The bladder is a hollow pelvic organ with flexible, muscular walls that stores urine. The average adult bladder holds about 2 cups of urine. Every so often, the person releases urine through the urethra to empty the bladder.

Urethra: The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body.

Last Medical Review: 03/17/2011
Last Revised: 03/17/2011