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How the urinary system normally works

The urinary system comprises:-

  • Two kidneys – which filter blood and remove waste products and excess water
  • Two ureters – the tubes which connect the kidney to the bladder
  • One bladder – reservoir for urine
  • One urethra – tube connected to bladder which expels urine.
Urinary System

Urine is produced in the kidneys (approximately 2 litres per day). It is then carried down long tubes called ureters to the bladder where it is stored. Urine flows continually into the bladder from the ureters and during the course of a normal day the bladder will gradually fill. Once it is approximately half full the first sensation of wanting to pass water occurs and the bladder will contract and squeeze out the urine via the urethra.
In healthy adults this process of urination is under voluntary control. 

What is a urostomy?

A urostomy is a surgical procedure which diverts the normal flow of urine from the kidneys and ureters into a specially created stoma. To create the stoma the surgeon will isolate a short piece of your small intestine from which he will fashion a tube or spout (known as an ileal conduit). The two ureters will be plumbed into this spout which will be brought to the surface of the abdomen. Urine will continue to pass through the stoma, completely bypassing the bladder. The bladder may or may not be removed. A urostomy is permanent.


There are a number of reasons for a urostomy all of which are connected to a defect or problem with the urinary system which needs to be removed or bypassed. Babies are sometimes born with a defect of their urinary system. In adults neurological disorders leading to severe incontinence or bladder cancer may result in urostomy surgery.

Waste from a urostomy

The flow of urine from a urostomy is continuous and a urostomy bag with a tap will be worn which will need emptying several times per day. The urine may contain some mucous. The urostomy bag will ususally be attached to a night drainage bag at night time and the bag will changed every 1-3 days according to personal preference

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