Knowledge of urinary system function and its parts is critical to understanding the system and disorders of it. The building blocks of that knowledge is key medical terms relating to it.
The urinary system is the group of organs and structures involved in the production of urine and its excretion from the body. Its main components are the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. As such, it is the kidneys and the urinary tract.
There are often references to the renal system, equating it to the urinary system. Such interchangeable use of the terms is imprecise though. Renal refers to the kidney which is a part of the urinary system. But it does not apply to the entire system in that the kidneys are not truly a part of the urinary tract.
Moreover, the kidneys don’t just produce urine. They perform other functions necessary for health and life. The kidneys are a system in and of themselves. But the term renal system is not one that healthcare professionals or disease reporting and classifying entities recognize as official.
Urethra – The canal through which urine flows from the bladder as it leaves the body. The urethral meatus is the opening of the urethra on the body’s surface. It is the terminal part of the urinary tract. – Urethral adj.
Urinary tract – It is the urine passageway just before the outside of the kidney through which urine passes before it exits the body. The first portion of it is the renal pelvis. The final portion is the urethral meatus. The ureters and bladder are the portions in between.
Urine – Is fluid with waste products that the body excretes through the urinary tract. Technically, it is former glomerular filtrate which has gone through all of the renal tubular processing. It is composed of 95% water. Its main solute is urea. Other elements of it include creatinine; sodium; potassium; chloride; ammonium and other ions; as well as inorganic and organic compounds. – Urinary adj.
Void – To urinate.