13.4: Ureters, Urinary Bladder, and Urethra - Biology

Communicating with Urine

Why do dogs urinate on fire hydrants? Besides “having to go,” they are marking their territory with chemicals called pheromones in their urine. It’s a form of communication, in which they are “saying” with odors that the yard is theirs and other dogs should stay away. Dogs may urinate on fence posts, trees, car tires, and many other objects in addition to fire hydrants. Urination in dogs, as in people, is usually a voluntary process controlled by the brain. The process of forming urine, which occurs in the kidneys, occurs constantly and is not under voluntary control. What happens to all the urine that forms in the kidneys? It passes from the kidneys through the other organs of the urinary system, starting with the ureters.


As shown in Figure (PageIndex{2}), ureters are tube-like structures that connect the kidneys with the urinary bladder. In adults, ureters are between 25 and 30 cm (10 to 12 in.) long and about 3 to 4 mm (about 1/8 in.) in diameter.

Each ureter arises in the pelvis of a kidney (Figure (PageIndex{3})). It then passes down the side of the kidney and finally enters the back of the bladder.

The walls of the ureters are composed of multiple layers of different types of tissues. You can see the layers in Figure (PageIndex{4}). The innermost layer is a special type of epithelium, called the transitional epithelium. Unlike the epithelium lining most organs, the transitional epithelium is capable of flattening and distending and does not produce mucus. It lines much of the urinary system, including the renal pelvis, bladder, and much of the urethra in addition to the ureters. Transitional epithelium allows these organs to stretch and expand as they fill with urine or allow urine to pass through. The next layer of the ureter walls is made up of loose connective tissue containing elastic fibers, nerves, and blood and lymphatic vessels. After this layer are two layers of smooth muscles, an inner circular layer, and an outer longitudinal layer. The smooth muscle layers can contract in waves of peristalsis to propel urine down the ureters from the kidneys to the urinary bladder. The outermost layer of the ureter walls consists of fibrous tissue.

Urinary Bladder

The urinary bladder is a hollow, muscular, and stretchy organ that rests on the pelvic floor. It collects and stores urine from the kidneys before the urine is eliminated through urination. As shown in Figure (PageIndex{5}), urine enters the urinary bladder from the ureters through two ureteral openings on either side of the back wall of the bladder. Urine leaves the bladder through a sphincter called the internal urethral sphincter. When the sphincter relaxes and opens, it allows urine to flow out of the bladder and into the urethra.

Like the ureters, the bladder is lined with transitional epithelium, which can flatten out and stretch as needed as the bladder fills with urine. The next layer (lamina propria) is a layer of loose connective tissue, nerves, and blood and lymphatic vessels. This is followed by a submucosa layer, which connects the lining of the bladder with the detrusor muscle in the walls of the bladder. The outer covering of the bladder is the peritoneum, which is a smooth layer of epithelial cells that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most abdominal organs.

The detrusor muscle in the wall of the bladder is made of smooth muscle fibers that are controlled by both the autonomic and somatic nervous systems. As the bladder fills, the detrusor muscle automatically relaxes to allow it to hold more urine. When the bladder is about half full, the stretching of the walls triggers the sensation of needing to urinate. When the individual is ready to void, conscious nervous signals cause the detrusor muscle to contract and the internal urethral sphincter to relax and open. As a result, urine is forcefully expelled out of the bladder and into the urethra.


The urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the external urethral orifice, which is the opening of the urethra on the surface of the body. As shown in Figure (PageIndex{6}), the urethra in a person with XY chromosomes (anatomically male) travels through the penis, so it is much longer than the urethra in a person with XX chromosomes (anatomically female). In a genetically male person, the urethra averages about 20 cm (8 in.) long, whereas, in a genetically female individual, it averages only about 4.8 cm (1.9 in.) long. In an XY individual, the urethra carries semen as well as urine, but in the XX individual, it carries only urine.

Like the ureters and bladder, the proximal (closer to the bladder) two-thirds of the urethra are lined with transitional epithelium. The distal (farther from the bladder) third of the urethra is lined with mucus-secreting epithelium. The mucus helps protect the epithelium from urine, which is corrosive. Below the epithelium is loose connective tissue, and below that are layers of smooth muscle that are continuous with the muscle layers of the urinary bladder. When the bladder contracts to forcefully expel urine, the smooth muscle of the urethra relaxes to allow the urine to pass through.

In order for urine to leave the body through the external urethral orifice, the external urethral sphincter must relax and open. This sphincter is a striated muscle that is controlled by the somatic nervous system, so it is under conscious, voluntary control in most people (exceptions are infants, some elderly people, and patients with certain injuries or disorders). The muscle can be held in a contracted state and hold in the urine until the person is ready to urinate. Following urination, the smooth muscle lining the urethra automatically contracts to re-establish muscle tone, and the individual consciously contracts the external urethral sphincter to close the external urethral opening.


  1. What are ureters?
  2. Describe the location of the ureters relative to other urinary tract organs.
  3. Identify layers in the walls of a ureter and how they contribute to the ureter’s function.
  4. Describe the urinary bladder.
  5. What is the function of the urinary bladder?
  6. How does the nervous system control the urinary bladder?
  7. What is the urethra?
  8. How does the nervous system control urination?
  9. Identify the sphincters that are located along the pathway from the ureters to the external urethral orifice.
  10. What are two differences between the male and female urethra?
  11. True or False. Urine travels through the urinary system due solely to the force of gravity.
  12. True or False. Urination refers to the process that occurs from the formation of urine in the kidneys to the elimination of urine from the body.
  13. When the bladder muscle contracts, the smooth muscle in the walls of the urethra _________ .
  14. Transitional epithelium lines the:

    A. bladder

    B. ureters

    C. renal pelvis

    D. All of the above

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You deposit it in the toilets and then you flush and never see it again. Could we be making use of all the pee (and poop) we usually flush away? Watch this fun and interesting TED talk to learn more about the potential use of pee and other human excrements to grow healthier plants and people.

Applied anatomy and physiology of the feline lower urinary tract

Paired ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra constitute the lower urinary tract. Oblique passage of ureters through the bladder wall results in compression of the distal ureter to preclude urine reflux. Ureters are anchored by longitudinal ureteral musculature that outlines the bladder trigone and extends into dorsal submucosa of the urethra as urethral crest. The urinary bladder can be divided into apex, body, and neck. The male urethra has penile and pelvic components, the latter is divisible into preprostatic, prostatic, and postprostatic regions. The muscle coat of the bladder-urethra forms three functional entities in craniocaudal series. These are the detrusor muscle (to effect voiding), internal urethral sphincter (smooth muscle for generating tonic resistance), and external urethral sphincter (striated urethralis m. for phasic and voluntary continence). The vesical neck is a transition region. It is part of the internal urethral sphincter by virtue of its histology and innervation, but it contains detrusor fascicles that pull it open during micturition. Viscous accommodation plus sympathetic reflex inhibition of the vesical wall allows the urinary bladder to greatly expand in volume with minimal increase of intravesical pressure, within limits. At low volumes continence can be maintained by passive resistive elements of the urethral outlet. As volume increases, sympathetic reflex activity is necessary for continence. The striated external urethral sphincter is reflexly contracted to counter abrupt elevations of intravesical pressure and to maintain continence voluntarily. The pelvic plexus conveys sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation to the urinary tract. The pudendal nerve supplies the urethra and urethralis muscle. Ureters are largely independent of innervation. Internal and external urethral sphincters are activated by spinal reflexes, sympathetic and somatic reflexes, respectively. Normal micturition (sustained detrusor contraction and sphincter inhibition) is a brainstem-driven reflex, involving a spino-bulbo-spinal pathway and a pontine micturition center that switches from urine storage to micturition. All of the reflexes depend on neural activity in tension mechanoreceptors of the bladder wall and sacral afferent fibers.

Urinary bladder and ureter​

The organs of the urinary system include the kidneys, renal pelvis, ureters, bladder and urethra. The body takes nutrients from food and converts them to energy. After the body has taken the food components that it needs, waste products are left behind in the bowel and in the blood.

The ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra together form the urinary tract, which acts as a plumbing system to drain urine from the kidneys, store it, and then release it during urination

The ureters begin at the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) of the kidneys, which lie posteriorly to the renal vein and artery in the hilum[1]. The ureters then travel inferiorly inside the abdominal cavity. They pass over (anterior to) the psoas muscle and enter the bladder on the posterior bladder aspect in the trigon.

The urinary bladder is a muscular sac in the pelvis, just above and behind the pubic bone. When empty, the bladder is about the size and shape of a pear. Urine is made in the kidneys and travels down two tubes called ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores urine, allowing urination to be infrequent and controlled.

The ureter is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder. There are two ureters, one attached to each kidney. The upper half of the ureter is located in the abdomen and the lower half is located in the pelvic area.


As the anatomy of the urogenital wing in both men and women shows some significant differences, the structure of the urethras decisively mirrors them. Therefore, the urethras of both genders are examined separately.

Feminine urethra

The female urethra is clearly shorter than the male urethra, with an average length of 3–5 cm. Because of the significantly shorter length, women have a higher risk of infection than men and are more prone to bladder inflammation.

Image: The urethra transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This image shows (a) a female urethra. By Phil Schatz, License: CC BY 4.0

Female urethra course

The female urethra consists of the bladder neck, the striated urethral sphincter, the urogenital diaphragm, and bulbocavernosus muscle.

Microscopic anatomy of the female urethra

The urethra consists of a histological perspective of the following layers, starting from the inside:

  • Tunica mucosa: urothelium, merging into a multirow columnar epithelium and finally in a multi-layered non-cornified squamous epithelium. The lumen is formed as a slit.
  • Tunica propria: with the vein net and the Glandulae urethrales
  • Tunica muscularis: with the Stratum longitudinale and circulare

The supply of the female urethra takes place through the Corpus spongiosum urethrae, which designate the plexus.

Urethra Masculina

The male urethra has an average length of 20–25 cm. It starts at the Ostium urethrae internum and ends at the Glans penis, the Ostium urethrae externum. Its task is, besides the passing of urine, the transport of seminal fluid.

Image: The urethra transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This image shows (b) a male urethra. By Phil Schatz, License: CC BY 4.0

Anatomy of the male urethra

The urethra masculina is divided into 3 parts:

  • Pars prostatica: inside the prostate, approx. 4 cm long
  • Pars membranosa: runs about 2 cm through the Diaphragma urogenitale (above: Musculus sphincter urethrae, below Ampulla urethrae)
  • Pars spongiosa: in the Corpus spongiosum, 10–20 cm long, extends to the Fossa navicularis

The urethra passes two curvatures on its course The Curvatura infrapubica is between the Pars membrana and the Pars spongiosa. The Curvatura prepubica is between the proximal and distal area of the Pars spongiosa.

Additionally, the urethra narrows and widens in three different places:


The urethra is composed of the following layers from the inside to the outside:

  • Tunica mucosa: urothelium, from the Pars prostatica merging into a multi-layered and multi-row highly prismatic epithelium and from the Fossa navicularis into a multi-layered, non-cornified squamous epithelium
  • Tunica propria: connective tissue with venous plexus
  • Tunica muscularis:Stratum longitudinale and circulare consisting of Stratum longitudinale and circulare

Ureters and Urinary bladder

The ureters extend inferiorly from the renal pelvis. They arise medi-ally at the renal hilum to reach the urinary bladder. The bladder is meant for temporarily storing the urine. The urinary bladder is a hollow muscular bag. It lies in the pelvic cavity. The size of the bladder depends on the presence or absence of urine. The bladder capacity varies from 120-320ml. Filling upto 500 ml is tolerated. Micturition will occur at 280ml. The ureters enter the bladder inferiorly on its posterolateral surface. The urethra exits the bladder inferiorly and anteriorly. At the junction of the urethra with the urinary bladder smooth muscles of the bladder form the internal urinary sphincter . Around the urethra there is another external urinary sphincter. The sphincters control the flow of urine through the urethra.

In the male the urethra extends to the end of the penis where it opens to the outside. In male the urethra is 18-20cm long. In the female the urethra is shorter. It is about 4 cm long and 6 mm in diameter.

Chapter Review

The urethra is the only urinary structure that differs significantly between males and females. This is due to the dual role of the male urethra in transporting both urine and semen. The urethra arises from the trigone area at the base of the bladder. Urination is controlled by an involuntary internal sphincter of smooth muscle and a voluntary external sphincter of skeletal muscle. The shorter female urethra contributes to the higher incidence of bladder infections in females. The male urethra receives secretions from the prostate gland, Cowper’s gland, and seminal vesicles as well as sperm. The bladder is largely retroperitoneal and can hold up to 500–600 mL urine. Micturition is the process of voiding the urine and involves both involuntary and voluntary actions. Voluntary control of micturition requires a mature and intact sacral micturition center. It also requires an intact spinal cord. Loss of control of micturition is called incontinence and results in voiding when the bladder contains about 250 mL urine. The ureters are retroperitoneal and lead from the renal pelvis of the kidney to the trigone area at the base of the bladder. A thick muscular wall consisting of longitudinal and circular smooth muscle helps move urine toward the bladder by way of peristaltic contractions.

Direction Of Urinary Flow From The Glomerulus To The Urethra

Contracts sphincter muscles relax allows urine to flow out through urethra. Renal corpuscle – glomerulus and glomerular capsule 2.

Nephron Diagram With Labels Basic Anatomy And Physiology Renal Physiology Human Anatomy And Physiology

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A urethra is a small tube that extends from the bladder to the penis is males and an opening anterior to the vagina in women.

Direction of urinary flow from the glomerulus to the urethra. Blood flows into the glomerulus through the ____ arteriole and leaves the glomerulus through the ____ arteriole. Once they clear the blockage from the affected ureter urine can flow freely into your bladder. The __ conveys urine from.

Negative urine test no show from flow Pressure while passing Urine urinal track out of control oil present in urine and stool Horrible penis pains. Name the 3 layers in the wall of the urinary bladder from the innermost layer to the outermost layer. At the same time the brain signals the sphincter muscles to relax to let urine exit the bladder through the urethra.

It receives urine from the kidneys through the ureters and discharges it from the body through the urethra. Carry urine from bladder to the outside of the body. The bladder is shaped like a pyramid when empty.

The urinary system consists of the kidneys the organ of urine production and a set of muscular tubes that transport urine to the outside of the body. It becomes more oval as it fills with urine and expands. Urine is excreted to the outside of the body through the urethra.

Curves medially approaching the bladder. Minor major calyces renal pelvis ureter. Identify the correct direction of urine flow from formation to exiting the kidney.

The structural unit of urine production in the kidney is a nephron. They collect into the renal venules. Renal autoregulation neural regulation hormonal regulation adjusting blood flow in and out of the glomerulus by altering the glomerular capillary surface.

The urinary bladder is an extremely elastic musculomembranous sac in the urinary system that serves as a reservoir for urine. The main structures that make up the urinary system are two kidneys contains nephrons two ureters one bladder one urethra arteries and veins. Glomerulus proximal convoluted tubule nephron loop.

From the renal calyces urine passes through the __ into a __ and into the urinary bladder. Which structure is found separating the renal pyramids. Theyre ruining my life.

Identify the correct direction of urine flow from the formation to exiting the kidney. The ureter connects the kidney to the bladder. Urinary means urine or the formation of urine.

It is a mesh tube that opens up inside the blocked area. List the order of segments of the urethra through which urine flows in the male. Cortex medulla renal pelvis ureter.

– direction is urinary system — circulatory system. This may provide short-term symptom relief. Glomerular Bowmans capsule.

Bladder is a sac that serves as a reservoir for fluids. The renal corpuscle of a neuron is the _____ component. Urinary bladder A muscular membranous distensible reservoir that holds urine situated in the pelvic cavity.

Cortex medulla ureter renal pelvis. The nerves alert a person when it is time to urinate or empty the bladder. Blood flow through the Nephron Afferent arterioles supply blood to the kidney from the renal artery.

The urethra is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the genitals for the removal of fluids from the body. Urinary stasis Stoppage of the flow or discharge of urine at any level of the urinary tract. Blood exits the glomerulus through efferent arterioles that lead to a network of peritubular capillaries vasa recta which surround the tubules of the nephron.

The brain signals the bladder muscles to tighten which squeezes urine out of the bladder. The external urethral sphincter is a striated muscle that allows voluntary control over urination by controlling the flow of urine from the bladder into the urethra. Starting from the kidneys these tubes are.

A urinary bladder is a sac located behind the pelvic bone. Name the sturctures urine flows through to leave the body in order. The nephron is a microscopic.

When the direction of movement is from peritubular plasma to tubular lumen. Stent placement A less intrusive form of treatment is the placement of a stent in the blocked ureter. Abnormal urinary tract issues there is some swelling or irritation at the tip of my penis tip of penis discomfort when squeezed Penis bleeding due to injured urethra.

3 major renal processes. It consists of the glomerulus which is a. The double walled structure found around the glomerulus that receives glomerular filtrate is the.

Urine flows through the ureters into the urinary bladder. The bladder is storage for urine. Kidneys ureters urinary bladder urethra.

-adjust blood flow into and out of the glomerulus. Kidneys also secrete an enzyme renin that is important in the control of blood pressure and sodium balance Structures of the Kidneys and Urinary System The urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters into the bladder and then is eliminated via the urethra Each kidney contains approximately 1 million similar functional units called nephrons. This tube allows urine to pass outside the body.

Urine can flow freely into the bladder once the urinary blockage has been removed. As urine is formed it flows through the collecting ducts to enter in order the following structures. Stent placement in the blocked kidney or ureter is a less intrusive treatment method.

Where it will be conveyed to the urinary bladder by the ureter. They end in a capillary networkcapillary bed called the glomerulus. 8-18 minor calyces drain into 2-3 major calyces draining into the renal pelvis and finally the ureter.

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Tumours of the Urinary System

Urothelium is present in the kidney pelvis, ureters, urinary bladder, and the urethra.

Urothelial neoplasms can occur in all of these organs but >90% are in the urinary bladder.

The normal bladder wall consists of several tissue layers, the distinction of which is critical for bladder cancer staging.

The urothelium covers the inner surface of the bladder. The connective tissue layer between the urothelium and the muscular bladder wall is the lamina propria.

The staging system of urothelial neoplasms is unusual as two non-invasive lesions exist: non-invasive papillary carcinoma (pTa) and carcinoma in situ (pTis).

The invasive stages are pT1: invasion of lamina propria pT2: invasion of muscular wall pT3: invasion of perivesical fat pT4: invasion of adjacent organs.

Staging of bladder neoplasms is critical for treatment decisions, but challenging for pathologists.

This is due to the nature of transurethral tumour resection, because it always leads to fragmentation and substantial crush artefacts in the resected tissues.

The distinction between pTa and pT1 tumour can be very challenging and is subject to high interobserver variability.

13.4: Ureters, Urinary Bladder, and Urethra - Biology

More than one in three of all those with lupus experience urinary tract infections (UTIs) – far more than the general public. They are among the most common reasons for lupus hospitalization and if not treated early, can lead to serious damage. Read on find out about the causes, symptoms and treatments for UTIs and cystitis related to lupus – it just might save you from a great deal of pain.

  • Introduction to Lupus, Cystitis, and Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
  • A Brief Tour of the Urinary Tract System
  • Cystitis and UTI Causes, Diagnoses and Treatments
  • How to Prevent Urinary Tract Inflammation and Infections
  • In Conclusion

Introduction to Lupus, Cystitis, and Urinary Tract Infections

Approximately 36% of those with lupus experience urinary tract infections (UTIs), significantly more than the general population. They can occur anywhere along the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder and urethra. In general, UTIs are caused by bacterial infection, most commonly Escherichia coli (E. coli), which can result in inflammation, frequent peeing and sometimes pain. UTIs account for about a third of the infections for those with SLE.

The urinary tract diseases that are most associated with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) usually involve the kidneys themselves, in the form of lupus nephritis, or in the lower urinary tract from the bladder to the urethra. When the inflammation is limited to the bladder, it is called cystitis, and there are two types, interstitial cystitis and lupus cystitis, that have autoimmune origins and can develop without an actual infection.

Untreated, chronic bladder inflammation not only damages the bladder, but can affect the rest of the renal system. If the ureters become blocked or inflamed, urine may back up into the kidneys can cause kidney damage and further infection. Those with SLE already have a greater risk for developing renal disease. So, anything that could further affect the kidneys should be taken seriously.

. A Brief Tour of the Urinary Tract System

The primary function of the urinary tract system is to filter blood and eliminate waste called urea. Urea enters the kidneys, where it is collected with water and other waste products and is turned into urine. Urine then passes from the kidneys through two tubes called ureters, emptying into the bladder. The bladder is a little triangular sac that sits at the base of the lower abdomen, holding the urine until a nerve signal from the pelvis tells the brain it is time to urinate. Once it is time, the urine leaves the bladder end enters into the urethra, where it comes out of the body and is flushed away.

Cystitis and UTI Causes, Risk Factors, Diagnoses and Treatments

Cystitis, inflammation of the bladder, is usually caused by a bacterial infection. However, cystitis can also occur due to autoimmune reactions, the effects of some lupus medications, the use of fragrant, feminine hygiene sprays and soaps, spermicidal jellies used during intercourse, or other underlying health conditions. Cystitis may go away once those products or medications are eliminated, or the underlying health condition is treated.

There are two kinds of cystitis most associated with lupus:

Interstitial cystitis is chronic cystitis without infection. Women with lupus are at greater risk for interstitial cystitis, and the risk increases with age. Interstitial cystitis causes inflammation and irritation of the bladder’s lining, resulting in increased bladder pressure and lower abdominal pain. Nerves in the pelvis falsely send messages to the brain saying the bladder is full when it is not, creating the feeling of constantly needing to urinate. Interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome because it is!

It is unclear what causes interstitial cystitis, though experts suspect it may be due to bladder or pelvic floor damage. It may also be due to an autoimmune response or allergic reaction.

Diagnosis: Interstitial cystitis can be difficult to diagnose and may require a cystoscopy (examination of the bladder under anesthesia).

Treatment: It can often be treated with physical therapy, nerve stimulation, over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines, or even antidepressants. Immunosuppressive therapy is a treatment option if all else fails.

Lupus cystitis is similar to interstitial cystitis, but is fairly rare – affecting only about 2% of the lupus population. It can fluctuate with lupus disease activity and flares, waxing and waning through time, whereas interstitial cystitis symptoms are more consistent.

Symptoms of lupus cystitis more often include lower abdominal upset than bladder or urinary discomfort.

Diagnosis: As with interstitial cystitis, diagnosis can be difficult. It is rare and requires the additional diagnosis of lupus itself. For some, a lupus cystitis diagnosis is the fiRst indication that they have lupus.

Treatment: Since lupus cystitis is an autoimmune condition, it is initially treated with anti-inflammatory steroids and immunosuppressives.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by a bacteria, usually Escherichia coli (E. coli) that normally live in our digestive tracts.

The symptoms for all of these conditions are similar and include:

  • discomfort while urinating (dysuria)
  • frequently waking at night to urinate (nocturia)
  • cloudy or bloody urine
  • more often and urgently needing to urinate
  • lower abdominal discomfort, including pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation and
  • fever, chills, and joint pain.

Diagnosis: A urinalysis will initially look for signs of infection. Additional blood tests, imaging, or even a biopsy may be needed for diagnosis, depending on the results.

Treatment: While a UTI will go away quickly for some by drinking fluids and resting, you will need medical attention if you have lupus. To dispel the myth, drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements may help prevent a UTI but not cure it – there is just no solid evidence. Antibiotics will be necessary!

For those living with lupus, these the most important risk factor for UTIs and cystitis:

  • Being female: Women account for over 90% of those diagnosed with lupus urinary tract infections are the most common form of bacterial infection in women, and women are 5 times more likely to get urinary tract infections than men. Why? Women have shorter urethras than men, so anatomically bacteria have a far shorter distance to get to the bladder in women than men. of the gastrointestinal tract: Cystitis is more likely to occur if a person also has lupus mesenteric vasculitis
  • Positive antinuclear antibody and complement C3 and C4 protein tests are associated with a great risk for cystitis
  • Frequency of sexual intercourse
  • Leucopenia – a low white cell blood count: With fewer white blood cells, the body is less able to fight urinary tract infections
  • Immunosuppressant therapy: These drugs are commonly prescribed to those with lupus, and since they decreases the body’s ability to fight infection they may make UTIs more likely, and
  • Central Nervous System SLE: Up to 21% of those with lupus have autonomic nervous system dysfunction, and this can affect the nerves responsible for urinary function.

How to Prevent Urinary Tract Inflammation and Infections

While inflammation may not be entirely preventable, if you have lupus, several things can be done to limit the risk of urinary tract infections:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, by aiming for eight glasses a day, unless otherwise recommended by a practitioner.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine as these stimulants can be very dehydrating.
  • Eat plenty of fiber to prevent constipation.
  • Wear breathable cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes to maintain airflow and prevent moisture-breeding bacteria.
  • Practice urinary hygiene by going when you need to go and finish urinating completely. Wipe the area gently and thoroughly after urinating. Urinate after sex to get rid of bacteria.

As mentioned earlier, always seek advice from a healthcare practitioner immediately if you suspect a UTI, especially if you have lupus!

In Conclusion

Infections are some of the most damaging consequences of having lupus, and UTIs are one of the most common and serious types associated with lupus. An uncomfortable feeling lower in the abdomen and frequent peeing may indicate a problem in the urinary tract – either from infection or inflammation. If you notice any of the symptoms described in this article, take precautions and seek medical advice immediately.

13 tips to keep your bladder healthy. (17, May 2017). National Institute on Aging.

Duran-Barragan, S., Naranjo, H., Rodriguez-Gutierrez, L., Solano-Moreno, h., Hernandez-Rios, G., Sanchez-Ortiz, A., & Ramos-Remus, C. (2008). Recurrent urinary tract infections and bladder dysfunction in systemic lupus erythematosus. Lupus, 17, 1117-1121.

Hidalgo-Tenorio, C., Jimenez-Alonso, J., de Dios Luna, J., Tallada, M., Martinez-Brocal, A., & Sabio, J. (2004). Urinary tract infections and lupus erythematosus. Annals of Rheumatic Disease, 63, 431-437.

Koh, J., Lee, J., Jung, S., Ju, J., Park, S., Kim, H., & Kwok, S. (2015). Lupus cystitis in Korean patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: Risk factors and clinical outcomes. Lupus, 24, 1300-1307.

Liberski, S., Marczak, D., Mazur, E., Mietkiewicz, K., Leis, K., & Gatazka, P. (2018). Systemic lupus erythematosus of the urinary tract: Focus on lupus cystitis. Reumatologia, 56(4), 255-258.

Wen, J., Lo, T., Chuang, Y., Ho, C., Long, C., Law, K., Tong, Y., & Wu, M. (2019). Risks of interstitial cystitis among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus: a population-based cohort study. International Journal of Urology, 26, 897-902.

Author: Liz Heintz

Liz Heintz is a technical and creative writer who received her BA in Communications, Advocacy, and Relational Communications from Marylhurst University in Lake Oswego, Oregon. She most recently worked for several years in the healthcare industry. A native of San Francisco, California, Liz now calls the beautiful Pacific Northwest home.

All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of and were created by Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus. To use one of these images, please contact us at [email protected] for written permission image credit and link-back must be given to Kaleidoscope Fighting Lupus.

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The Ureters

When it is empty, the urinary bladder (Fig. 18-10) is located below the parietal peritoneum and posterior to the pubic joint. When filled, it pushes the peritoneum upward and may extend well into the abdominal cavity proper. The urinary bladder is a temporary reservoir for urine, just as the gallbladder is a storage sac for bile. The bladder wall has many layers. It is lined with mucous membrane containing transitional epithelium. The bladder’s lining, like that of the stomach, is thrown into folds called rugae when the organ is empty. Beneath the mucosa is a layer of connective tissue, followed by a three-layered coat of involuntary muscle tissue that can stretch considerably. Finally, there is an incomplete coat of peritoneum that covers only the superior portion of the bladder. When the bladder is empty, the muscular wall becomes thick, and the entire organ feels firm. As the bladder fills, the muscular wall becomes thinner, and the organ may increase from a length of 5 cm (2 inches) up to as much as 12.5 cm (5 inches) or even more. A moderately full bladder holds about 470 mL (1 pint) of urine. The trigone is a triangular-shaped region in the floor of the bladder. It is marked by the openings of the two ureters and the urethra (see Fig. 18-10) . As the bladder fills with urine, it expands upward, leaving the trigone at the base stationary. This stability prevents stretching of the ureteral openings and the possible back flow of urine into the ureters.

The Urethra
The urethra is the tube that extends from the bladder to the outside (see Fig. 18-1) and is the means by which the
bladder is emptied. The urethra differs in men and women in the male, it is part of both the reproductive system and the urinary system, and it is much longer than is the female urethra.