Female Urinary Organ Anatomy
The female urinary system consists of organs including the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, which produce and assist in the release of wastes. Two bean-shaped kidneys filter the blood of waste products to form urine. Each kidney is differentiated into the outer cortex and inner medulla and is filled with special units called nephrons. Urine accumulates at the funnel-shaped opening of the kidney called the renal pelvis. The renal artery, vein and nerves enter the kidneys at the hilum. The renal pelvis at each kidney opens out into a long tube called a ureter.
The ureters are lined with smooth muscle and carry urine to the bladder through openings called ureteral orifices in the bladder wall.
The bladder is present within the pelvis and shaped like a pyramid. It is lined by smooth muscles and can expand to store about 500 mL of urine. Urine is stored until the bladder gets full. This signals the brain, which in turn sends signals to ring-like muscles called the internal sphincter muscles lining the opening of the bladder to relax and allow the outflow of urine through a tube called the urethra. The urethra then passes through a layer of muscles which forms an external sphincter. These sphincters control urine retention or release through the urethral opening just above the vaginal opening. Women have a much shorter urethra (4-6 cm) which increases their risk of developing urinary tract infections.
The urinary system is designed in such a way that it allows only the one-way movement of urine from the kidneys to the outside. Abnormalities and blockages in any part of the urinary system enable the back-flow of urine, causing serious health issues.