Kidneys (there are 2) and ureters constitute the organs of the upper urinary system.
They are bean-shaped and fist-sized (10-12 cm).
They are located on both sides of the spinal column, on the posterior abdominal wall, behind the bowel.
The functions of the kidneys are to:
- Produce urine
- Regulate body water and electrolytes balance
- Regulate body acid-base balance
- Excrete body metabolic products
- Regulate blood pressure
- Contribute in blood production
Ureters (there are two) are small tubes measuring approx. 25-30 cm in length.
They originate in the renal pelvis and end up in the bladder.
Similarly to the kidneys, they are located in the posterior abdominal wall, behind the bowel.
Several diseases can affect the kidneys and ureters. The most common of them are:
- Kidney stones
- Inflammations (e.g. pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis)
- Malignant neoplasms (renal cancer, renal pelvis and ureter cancer)
- Benign conditions (e.g. renal cysts)
- Congenital anomalies (e.g. ureteropelvic junction obstruction)
- Kidney failure