Health Topics

Kidneys and urinary system

Urinary Tract Infections
National Library of Medicine
Bladder Infections
Infections, Bladder
Kidney Infections
Pyelonephritis
UTI

The urinary system is the body's drainage system for removing wastes and extra water. It includes two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common type of infection in the body.

You may have a UTI if you notice

  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Fever, tiredness, or shakiness
  • An urge to urinate often
  • Pressure in your lower belly
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish
  • Pain in your back or side below the ribs

People of any age or sex can get UTIs. But about four times as many women get UTIs as men. You're also at higher risk if you have diabetes, need a tube to drain your bladder, or have a spinal cord injury.

If you think you have a UTI it is important to see your doctor. Your doctor can tell if you have a UTI with a urine test. Treatment is with antibiotics.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Urinary Tract Infections
Kidneys and Urinary System
Infections
... NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Kidney Failure
National Library of Medicine
ESRD
End-Stage Renal Disease
Renal Failure

Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals, and wastes. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. But if the kidneys are damaged, they don't work properly. Harmful wastes can build up in your body. Your blood pressure may rise. Your body may retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells. This is called kidney failure.

If your kidneys fail, you need treatment to replace the work they normally do. The treatment options are dialysis or a kidney transplant. Each treatment has benefits and drawbacks. No matter which treatment you choose, you'll need to make some changes in your life, including how you eat and plan your activities. But with the help of health care providers, family, and friends, most people with kidney failure can lead full and active lives.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Kidney Failure, Chronic
Kidneys and Urinary System
Healthy kidneys clean your blood by removing excess fluid, minerals, and wastes. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. ...
Chronic Kidney Disease
National Library of Medicine
CKD

You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. Their main job is to filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. They also keep the body's chemicals balanced, help control blood pressure, and make hormones.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that your kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood as they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD.

The kidney damage occurs slowly over many years. Many people don't have any symptoms until their kidney disease is very advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease.

Treatments cannot cure kidney disease, but they may slow kidney disease. They include medicines to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. CKD may still get worse over time. Sometimes it can lead to kidney failure. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplantation.

You can take steps to keep your kidneys healthier longer:

  • Choose foods with less salt (sodium)
  • Control your blood pressure; your health care provider can tell you what your blood pressure should be
  • Keep your blood sugar in the target range, if you have diabetes
  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Choose foods that are healthy for your heart: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Be physically active
  • Don't smoke

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Renal Insufficiency, Chronic
Kidneys and Urinary System
You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. Their main job is to filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. They ...
Ostomy
National Library of Medicine
Colostomy
Ileostomy
Stoma
Urostomy

An ostomy is surgery to create an opening (stoma) from an area inside the body to the outside. It treats certain diseases of the digestive or urinary systems. It can be permanent, when an organ must be removed. It can be temporary, when the organ needs time to heal. The organ could be the small intestine, colon, rectum, or bladder. With an ostomy, there must be a new way for wastes to leave the body.

There are many different types of ostomy. Some examples are

  • Ileostomy - the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) is attached to the stoma. This bypasses the colon, rectum and anus.
  • Colostomy - the colon is attached to the stoma. This bypasses the rectum and the anus.
  • Urostomy - the tubes that carry urine to the bladder are attached to the stoma. This bypasses the bladder.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Ostomy
Digestive System
Kidneys and Urinary System
Surgery and Rehabilitation
... NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Dialysis
National Library of Medicine
Hemodialysis
Peritoneal Dialysis
Renal Dialysis

When your kidneys are healthy, they clean your blood. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. When your kidneys fail, you need treatment to replace the work your kidneys used to do. Unless you have a kidney transplant, you will need a treatment called dialysis.

There are two main types of dialysis. Both types filter your blood to rid your body of harmful wastes, extra salt, and water.

  • Hemodialysis uses a machine. It is sometimes called an artificial kidney. You usually go to a special clinic for treatments several times a week.
  • Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen, called the peritoneal membrane, to filter your blood.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Renal Dialysis
Kidneys and Urinary System
When your kidneys are healthy, they clean your blood. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and your blood healthy. When your kidneys fail, ...
Kidney Diseases
National Library of Medicine
Nephritis
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Renal Disease

You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. They are near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Inside each kidney there are about a million tiny structures called nephrons. They filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters. It goes to your bladder, which stores the urine until you go to the bathroom.

Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons. This damage may leave kidneys unable to remove wastes. Causes can include genetic problems, injuries, or medicines. You have a higher risk of kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a close family member with kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease damages the nephrons slowly over several years. Other kidney problems include

  • Cancer
  • Cysts
  • Stones
  • Infections

Your doctor can do blood and urine tests to check if you have kidney disease. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Kidney Diseases
Kidneys and Urinary System
You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. They are near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Inside each kidney there are about ...
Kidney Transplantation
National Library of Medicine
Renal Transplantation

A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney in your body. The transplanted kidney takes over the work of the two kidneys that failed, so you no longer need dialysis.

During a transplant, the surgeon places the new kidney in your lower abdomen and connects the artery and vein of the new kidney to your artery and vein. Often, the new kidney will start making urine as soon as your blood starts flowing through it. But sometimes it takes a few weeks to start working.

Many transplanted kidneys come from donors who have died. Some come from a living family member. The wait for a new kidney can be long.

If you have a transplant, you must take drugs for the rest of your life, to keep your body from rejecting the new kidney.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Kidney Transplantation
Kidneys and Urinary System
Transplantation and Donation
A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney in your body. The transplanted kidney takes over the work of the two kidneys that failed, ...
Kidney Cysts
National Library of Medicine
Cystic Kidney Diseases
Polycystic Kidney Disease

A cyst is a fluid-filled sac. You may get simple kidney cysts as you age; they are usually harmless. There are also some diseases which cause kidney cysts. One type is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). It runs in families. In PKD, many cysts grow in the kidneys. This can enlarge the kidneys and make them work poorly. About half of people with the most common type of PKD end up with kidney failure. PKD also causes cysts in other parts of the body, such as the liver.

Often, there are no symptoms at first. Later, symptoms include

  • Pain in the back and lower sides
  • Headaches
  • Blood in the urine

Doctors diagnose PKD with imaging tests and family history. There is no cure. Treatments can help with symptoms and complications. They include medicines and lifestyle changes, and if there is kidney failure, dialysis or kidney transplants.

Acquired cystic kidney disease (ACKD) happens in people who have chronic kidney disease, especially if they are on dialysis. Unlike PKD, the kidneys are normal sized, and cysts do not form in other parts of the body. ACKD often has no symptoms. Usually, the cysts are harmless and do not need treatment. If they do cause complications, treatments include medicines, draining the cysts, or surgery.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Kidney Diseases, Cystic
Kidneys and Urinary System
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac. You may get simple kidney cysts as you age; they are usually harmless. There are also some diseases which cause kidney cysts. ...
Urine and Urination
National Library of Medicine
Dysuria
Micturition
Pee
Urination

Your kidneys make urine by filtering wastes and extra water from your blood. The waste is called urea. Your blood carries it to the kidneys. From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin tubes called ureters to the bladder. The bladder stores urine until you are ready to urinate. It swells into a round shape when it is full and gets smaller when empty. If your urinary system is healthy, your bladder can hold up to 16 ounces (2 cups) of urine comfortably for 2 to 5 hours.

You may have problems with urination if you have

  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract infections
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Bladder control problems like incontinence, overactive bladder, or interstitial cystitis
  • A blockage that prevents you from emptying your bladder

Some conditions may also cause you to have blood or protein in your urine. If you have a urinary problem, see your health care provider. Urinalysis and other urine tests can help to diagnose the problem. Treatment depends on the cause.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases


Urination Disorders
Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms
Urination
Urine
Kidneys and Urinary System
... blood carries it to the kidneys. From the kidneys, urine travels down two thin ... empty. If your urinary system is healthy, your bladder can hold up to ...
Kidney Cancer
National Library of Medicine
Hypernephroma
Renal Cancer

You have two kidneys. They are fist-sized organs on either side of your backbone above your waist. The tubes inside filter and clean your blood, taking out waste products and making urine. Kidney cancer forms in the lining of tiny tubes inside your kidneys.

Kidney cancer becomes more likely as you age. Risk factors include smoking, having certain genetic conditions, and misusing pain medicines for a long time.

You may have no symptoms at first. They may appear as the cancer grows. See your health care provider if you notice

  • Blood in your urine
  • A lump in your abdomen
  • Weight loss for no reason
  • Pain in your side that does not go away
  • Loss of appetite

Tests to diagnose kidney cancer include blood, urine, and imaging tests. You may also have a biopsy.

Treatment depends on your age, your overall health and how advanced the cancer is. It might include surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, biologic, or targeted therapies. Biologic therapy boosts your body's own ability to fight cancer. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute


Kidney Neoplasms
Cancers
Kidneys and Urinary System
You have two kidneys. They are fist-sized organs on either side of your backbone above your waist. The tubes inside filter and clean your blood, taking out ...