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Urethra facts for kids

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Latin urethra vagina; feminina (female); urethra masculina (male)
Artery Inferior vesical artery
Middle rectal artery
Internal pudendal artery
Vein Inferior vesical vein
Middle rectal vein
Internal pudendal vein
Nerve Pudendal nerve
Pelvic splanchnic nerves
Inferior hypogastric plexus
Lymph Internal iliac lymph nodes
Deep inguinal lymph nodes
Precursor Urogenital sinus

The urethra (from Greek οὐρήθρα – ourḗthrā; pl.: urethras or urethrae) is a tube that connects the urinary bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of urine from the body of both females and males.

The external urethral sphincter is a striated muscle that allows voluntary control over urination. The internal sphincter, formed by the involuntary smooth muscles lining the bladder neck and urethra, receives its nerve supply by the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system. The internal sphincter is present both in males and females.


The urethra is a fibrous and muscular tube which connects the urinary bladder to the external urethral meatus. Its length differs between the sexes, because it passes through the penis in males.


The word "urethra" comes from the Ancient Greek stem "uro" relating to urination, with the structure described as early as the time of Hippocrates. Confusingly however, at the time it was called "ureter". Thereafter, terms "ureter" and "urethra" were variably used to refer to each other thereafter for more than a millennia. It was only in the 1550s that anatomists such as Bartolomeo Eustacchio and Jacques Dubois began to use the terms to specifically and consistently refer to what is in modern English called the ureter and the urethra. Following this, in the 19th and 20th centuries multiple terms relating to the structures such as urethritis and urethrography, were coined.

Kidney stones have been identified and recorded about as long as written historical records exist. The urinary tract as well as its function to drain urine from the kidneys, has been described by Galen in the second century AD. Surgery to the urethra to remove kidney stones has been described since at least the first century AD by Aulus Cornelius Celsus.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Uretra para niños

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