The kidneys are among the most vital organs of the human body. Malfunction of the kidneys can lead to serious illness or even death. Each kidney has a very complex structure and function.
They have two important functions namely: to flush out harmful and toxic waste products and to maintain balance of water, fluids, minerals and chemicals i.e., electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, etc.
The kidney produce urine by removing toxic waste products and excess water from the body. Urine formed in each kidney passes through the ureter, flows into bladder before finally being excreted through the urethra.
Most people (males and females) have two kidneys.
The kidneys are located at upper and back side of the abdomen, on either side of the spine (see diagram). They are protected from damage by the lower ribs.
The kidneys lie deep inside the abdomen so normally one cannot feel them.
The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs. In adults, a kidney is about 10 cm long, 6 cm wide and 4 cm thick. Each kidney weighs approximately 150-170 grams.
Urine formed in the kidneys flow down to urinary bladder and then through the ureters. Each ureter is about 25 cm long and is a hollow tube- like structure made up of special muscles.
The urinary bladder is a hollow organ made up of muscles, which lie in the lower and anterior part of the abdomen. It acts as a reservoir of urine.
The adult urinary bladder hold about 400-500 ml of urine; when filled to near capacity, a person feels the urge to pass urine.
The urine in the bladder is excreted through the urethra during the process of urination. In females, the urethra is relatively short, while it is much longer in males
Location, structure and functions of the kidneys are thesame in males and females.