What Does the Bladder Do?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, the bladder is a hollow, muscular sac that stores urine. About the size and shape of a pear, the bladder receives urine from the ureters and expels it through the urethra. While the kidneys filter blood constantly, and therefore produce urine on a continual basis, the urinary bladder stores the urine so that urination can take place periodically instead of being a constant activity.

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Full Answer

WebMD explains that during urination, the muscles in the bladder contract. Simultaneously, two sphincters in the bladder open and allow the urine to escape through the urethra. The bladder is an elastic organ, which allows it to stretch so that it can accommodate more urine. The average bladder can hold approximately one-half liter of urine. Despite being able to hold considerably more urine, the bladder signals the brain to urinate when the bladder is approximately one-quarter full, according to Healthline.

The urethra travels from the bladder to the urethral orifice in both men and women; however, as explained by WebMD, the male urethra is much longer than the female urethra. Male urethras are about 8 inches long, while those of females are only about 1.5 inches long. While the male urethra must travel to the tip of a man’s penis, the urethral opening of women is located between the clitoris and the vagina.

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