Diseases of the kidneys and of the urinary tract
What is the urinary tract?
Kidneys are important organs of our body. Along with bladder, ureters and urethra, they are part of what is called the URINARY TRACT.
Urinary tract is responsible for cleaning the waste products resulting from the body’s metabolism. It filters blood about 60 times each day and remove substances that would be harmful to our body.
The urine passes from the kidneys through the ureters (the tubes which connect each kidney to the bladder, measuring approximately 30 cm each) to be stored in the bladder. From here, it is expelled through the urethra to the outside (The urethra is a tube measuring about 4 cm in women and about 13 in men)
We can eliminate between 1.5 and 2 liters per day, although this amount varies greatly depending on many circumstances. When we sweat a lot, much more water is removed through the skin and we do not usually urinate so much. People who drink little do not urinate as often.
What is urine?
Urine is a more or less yellow liquid, with more or less clearness. Sometimes, the intake of certain foods or drugs will provide a darker color. At other times, the color is dark because of some illness.
We call oliguria to that medical condition when urine output is abnormally lower than it should be. It is a symptom of the malfunctioning of the urinary tract.
Functions of the kidneys
Besides their filtering function, kidneys perform other functions:
- They are in charge of the acid-balance of the blood
- They manage the content of minerals and salts.
- They produce hormones that control blood pressure.
- They produce hormones that control the amount of red blood cells.
Despite its small size, our kidneys are vital organs for the general health of our body. At the same time, many bodily diseases are likely to diminish the health of the kidneys.
Main urinary tract diseases
Many diseases can affect the urinary tract. Among them, we could mention the following:
- Renal calculi or kidney stones (renal lithiasis). A kidney stone is a concretion that appears in the kidney because of the deposition of mineral crystals. It is a very painful condition when these stones are placed in the ureter, especially when urinating
- Biliary calculi or gallstones (biliary lithiasis) A gallstone is a concretion that takes place in the gallbladder when calcium crystals are formed there. because of excess of cholesterol and bilirubin that was dissolved in the bile.
- Renal or kidney infection. A kidney infection is an infection caused by microbes in the kidneys. These are diseases that most commonly occur in women than in men. They can have a temporary or chronic nature, and in some cases, they are responsible for kidney failure.
- Cystitis is the inflammation of the bladder or the urinary tract.
- Kidney failure is the incapacity of the kidneys to filter the urine.
- Nephritis is the inflammation of the kidney.
- Urethritis is the inflammation of urethra.
- Uretitis is the inflammation of ureter.
Causes of urinary tract diseases
Many are the causes that can produce the appearance of diseases in the urinary tract. Among them, we would mention the following:
- Microbial Infections: They are responsible for infections that occur in the kidney and bladder, often caused by poor cleaning routines. For example, after defecation, good hygiene is necessary for microbes in the stool can not access the urinary tract. The same problem can happen when, after sex, we do not proceed to proper hygiene in genital area.
- Diseases: Certain diseases can affect the urinary tract, like diabetes, calculi, inflammation of the prostate, etc.
- Contaminated Objects: The access of contaminated objects in the urinary or genital tract a may be another cause of kidney infections. For example, using tampons or diaphragms, etc.
- Traumatisms: Impacts, falls, accidents at work, sports, etc. can cause inflammation.
- Little fluid intake / low urination / slightly acid urine: Water is the medium in which all the toxins and minerals are dissolved. Urine is expelled through the pores of the skin and urine. An abundant and regular urination, prevents the sedimentation of the crystals of certain minerals or cholesterol that, when grouped, form stones in the kidney and gallbladder.We should drink between 2 and 5 liters a day, especially during very hot seasons or when we have been doing a strong physical exercise. Another circumstances, such as excessive sweating or diarrheas, may also contribute. A very dense urine impedes the expulsion of dissolved substances and favors the formation of stones.
On the other hand, urine is the first barrier that prevents penetration of bacteria that are expelled through urine outside. Heavy water drinking is a way to increase the body fluids and facilitate urination. An acidic urine is also an unsuitable medium for bacteria to grow.
- Inadequate Diet: A poor diet, high in fat, too salty foods and sugars, favors the appearance of many diseases that promote the appearance of many of urinary tract diseases Adequate food, high in fiber and acidic foods (blueberries, lemons, oranges, grape, potatoes, etc.), with little sugar presence, does not only help to the fight against constipation and accumulation of bacteria in the body, but it acidifies the urine, creating an environment unsuitable for the development of bacteria. A balanced diet with whole cereals helps to prevent renal diseases.
- Obesity: It is one of the main triggering factors of urinary tract diseases. The control of weight is necessary. One should adopt a balanced diet and practice the suitable exercise daily.
Treatment of urinary tract diseases
More information on urinary tract diseases.