How the bladder and the urinary system work

To get a better understanding of some of the reasons behind why people may need to catheterise, we will take a look at how the urinary system works

Everything we eat or drink first goes into the stomach. There it is digested and the blood then transports the nutrients through the body. Anything in the blood that the body no longer needs is sent through the kidneys. They have a very important role. For example, the kidneys communicate to the brain when we feel thirsty and need to drink. They are also a very clever filtering system for the blood. In other words: the kidneys act like a waste-disposal system. Any remaining waste products are removed from the blood. This fluid is called urine and is a mixture of water, salts, toxins and proteins which the kidneys filter out and send through the ureter into the bladder.

The bladder is a hollow organ in the abdomen which stores the urine. The muscles in the bladder wall relax when the bladder is filling with urine and tighten when it’s time to urinate. The bladder wall is lined with layers of transitional cells. Small tubes called ureters take the urine from the kidneys into the bladder. The urine then leaves the bladder through a different tube called the urethra.

Urine that is collected in the bladder needs to be drained out regularly through the urethra. In order to be able to fulfill this task, not only the individual organs have to be intact, but their interaction has to be controlled and be coordinated. These functions are performed by the nervous system. Nerves and muscles then send a signal to the brain. But sometimes this function doesn’t work anymore, for example, if the spinal cord is damaged, the connections between the urinary tract and the control centers in the brain are completely or partially interrupted. One possible consequence is an involuntary loss of urine (incontinence), because at an unpredictable moment the pressure in the bladder becomes so strong that the urine is forced out against the resistance of the sphincter. In this case urinary catheters help to drain urine out of the bladder.

This information does not substitute the IFU provided with each product.
This information is intended as a guide only and is not substitute for a visit to the doctor or for medical treatment. Please always ask your doctor if you have medical problems. Teleflex cannot accept any liablity for the accuracy or completeness of this information.
For more information and advice regarding ISC, please contact your healthcare professional.


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