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Where Do Women Pee from? The Ultimate Guide to the Female Urethra

A lot of women don’t know which part of their bodies pee comes from. Many assume they pee from their vagina, but that’s not true. So where do women pee from? The answer is the urethra, but where is it, and how does it work? Read on to find out.

The part of the body where women pee from is called the urethra. The urethral opening or orifice is a tiny hole located anterior to the vagina and posterior to the clitoris, in the area between the labia minora that’s called the vestibule.

The urethra is a hollow tube, consisting of three layers, that connects the urinary bladder and urinary meatus and carries urine from the bladder out of the body. Because the urethra is relatively short (about 4–5 centimeters), microbes can get into the urinary tract through the urethra and cause infections. Improper hygiene, frequent unprotected sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, using methods of birth control such as diaphragms and/or spermicides, and conditions that compromise the immune system are all risk factors for urinary tract infections. 

The urethra is a hollow tube that consists of several layers and plays an important role in the bodily function of expelling urine from the body. This tube is 4.8–5.1 centimeters long and is the end of the vital urinary tract. 

The urinary tract is comprised of the following organs: 

  • Kidneys
  • Ureters
  • Bladder
  • Urethra

Generally, the bladder sphincter and the urethra are constricted until the bladder is full and sends signals to the brain to urinate. Once the body is ready to urinate, the brain sends signals down to the urethra and sphincter to relax, and once the muscles relax, they allow urine to pass and leave the body.

The entire urinary tract is an organ system designed to produce, transport, store, and expel urine from the body. This system is divided up into the upper urinary tract and the lower urinary tract, which work together to remove metabolic products, toxic waste, and extra fluid from the body in a coordinated fashion. 

The entire urinary tract is an organ system designed to produce, transport, store, and expel urine from the body.

The upper urinary tract has a constant flow of urine, but the lower urinary tract uses the sphincter muscle of the bladder and the urethra to maintain intermittent elimination. This can also help clean the urinary tract periodically of harmful microbes that may enter the urinary tract through the urethra. The kidneys collect urine from the bloodstream, and urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder through thin tubes called ureters. A person cannot control the work of their kidneys. The bladder is a reservoir that can hold up to 1.5–2 cups of urine. Once you are ready to pee, the bladder empties into the urethra, which moves the urine outside of your body. This process is called urination and is typically a conscious, controlled process.

The kidneys filter water, waste products, and certain drugs from the bloodstream. The fluid collected in the kidneys is called urine. Urine is held in the bladder until you are ready to relieve yourself. The bladder can hold pee for a varied amount of time, between 2 and 5 hours in healthy adults, depending on how full it is and how strong the muscles involved are.

Urine is mostly made of water, inorganic salts, and nitrogen compounds such as urea, uric acid, and creatinine. Urochrome or urobilin is a chemical that gives your urine a yellow color. The color of your pee can be pale or transparent yellow or dark amber depending on how hydrated you are. 

Urine is mostly made of water, inorganic salts, and nitrogen compounds such as urea, uric acid, and creatinine.

The lighter your pee, the more hydrated you are, and the darker the color, the less hydrated you are. Certain compounds and pigments from various foods and medications change the color of your urine. Foods like beets can give your pee a pink or red color. Certain prescription medications can change your pee to a greenish-blue color. But the color of your urine may also change due to specific medical conditions.

When microbes enter the urethra due to poor hygiene or a weakened immune system, they travel up the urinary tract and can cause inflammation. This condition is called a urinary tract infection (UTI). Infection can travel anywhere from the urethra up through the bladder and into the kidneys and cause inflammation in any of these organs. Here are the types of UTIs:

  • Urethritis: Urethritis is inflammation in the urethra. Symptoms of urethritis are burning with urination and discharge from the urethra.  
  • Cystitis: Cystitis is an infection localized to the bladder. Cystitis is the most common type of UTI.  It causes pain and burning during urination, especially in the end, a frequent urge to urinate, and pelvic pain. The color of your urine my also change, and it can become cloudy and have a strong smell.
  • Pyelonephritis: Pyelonephritis is inflammation in one or both kidneys due to infection. The most common symptoms of pyelonephritis are chills and fever, pain in your back or side, nausea and vomiting, and changes in the urine like cloudy, bloody, or foul-smelling urine.

These conditions are fairly common. Uncomplicated lower UTI is one of the most commonly treated infections. Up to 40% of women will experience inflammation or infections of the urinary tract at some point in their lives. 

Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk of developing a UTI which can lead to complications like preterm labor.

Due to the female urethra being shorter than the male urethra, infections that travel up the urinary tract are more common in women. Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk of developing a UTI which can lead to complications like preterm labor.

Keeping your urinary tract healthy and clean involves maintenance and awareness. It can be as simple as changing up your hygiene habits and managing your diet. 

  • Hygiene: A simple and effective method for preventing UTIs is practicing correct hygiene habits. The direction you wipe your vaginal area with toilet paper is of great importance. Be sure to start near the front and wipe toward your anus, every time. This prevents microbes from your rectum getting near your urethra and possibly entering it.
  • Diet: Drink more water. Staying properly hydrated keeps your urinary system flowing, and you can expel urine more regularly, which helps the urethra self-clean. 
  • Medication: If you have been diagnosed with an infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic that works to kill the harmful microbes colonizing the urinary tract. 

Knowing where women pee from and how the urinary system works is important. Knowing how your urinary system works can prevent a UTI and subsequent complications by helping you understand proper hygiene habits and how to take care of your overall health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566164/

https://flo.health/pregnancy/pregnancy-health/illnesses-and-infections/uti-during-pregnancy

https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/symptoms-and-diseases/frequent-urination-causes

https://flo.health/menstrual-cycle/health/symptoms-and-diseases/simple-rules-that-can-help-you-prevent-cystitis

https://medlineplus.gov/urineandurination.html

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urine-color/symptoms-causes/syc-20367333?p=1

https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/urinary-tract-
how-it-works

https://hscnews.usc.edu/urologist-answers-nine-questions-about-urine/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/anatomy-of-the-urinary-system

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