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21.1: Urethra

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    The urethra transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body for disposal. The urethra is the only urologic organ that shows any significant anatomic difference between males and females; all other urine transport structures are identical (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)). The urethra in both males and females begins inferior and central to the two ureteral openings forming the three points of a triangular-shaped area at the base of the bladder called the trigone (Greek tri- = “triangle” and the root of the word “trigonometry”). The urethra tracks posterior and inferior to the pubic symphysis (see Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)). In both males and females, the proximal urethra is lined by transitional epithelium, whereas the terminal portion is a nonkeratinized, stratified squamous epithelium. In the male, pseudostratified columnar epithelium lines the urethra between these two cell types. Voiding is regulated by an involuntary autonomic nervous system-controlled internal urinary sphincter, consisting of smooth muscle and voluntary skeletal muscle that forms the external urinary sphincter below it


    The (a) panel of this figure shows the organs in the female urinary system and (b) the organs in the male urinary system

    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Female and Male Urethras The urethra transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This image shows (a) a female urethra and (b) a male urethra.  (CC-BY-4.0, OpenStax, Human Anatomy)

    This page titled 21.1: Urethra is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax.

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