Ever wonder which organs play a role in the human excretory system? Find out how waste and toxins are eliminated from the body.
We all know that when you eat and drink, substances move from your mouth, down your throat, and into your stomach. But what happens after that? There are a lot of steps between the stomach and elimination—do you know what they all are?
Due to embarrassment about the topic, it seems that no one wants to talk about how the human excretory system works. The excretory system and the organs inside of it aren’t gross or taboo, though. They’re an essential part of staying alive, and understanding how they work can help you better care for your body.
Read on to learn all about how waste, liquids, and toxins are eliminated from your body.
The Direct Route: Excretory System Organs
All parts of the excretory system function together to remove body waste, but there are a few different pathways they can take. Let’s start by taking a look at the urinary system and the bowels.
Through the Kidneys
Drinking liquids and eating foods with high water content are essential for keeping your body hydrated. After your body has used the fluid, though, it’s left full of toxins and metabolites that you need to get rid of.
The kidneys are two of the main excretory system organs when it comes to removing excess liquid. They filter your blood, taking out metabolites and water to maintain your body’s electrolyte balance.
The extra liquid leaves your kidneys through two long tubes called the ureters. These tubes are connected to your bladder, a stretchy organ that fills with kidney waste (urine). When you urinate, the urine leaves your body through an opening called the urethra.
Through the Bowels
Solid foods can’t be processed through the same route as liquids, so they have to continue their journey down the alimentary canal.
When you eat food, the digestive system (which overlaps with the excretory system) takes out energy and nutrients and leaves solid waste behind. This waste travels out of your stomach into the duodenum, a small tube-shaped organ, where it mixes with bile enzymes from your liver. Then, peristalsis moves it through the small intestine and large intestine where your body absorbs the last bit of nutrients and water.
Finally, the waste makes its way to the rectum and anus where you get rid of it during a bowel movement.
The Indirect Route: Cellular Drainage
Now you understand how things you eat and drink exit your body, but what about toxins and wastes that build up at a cellular level? That removal process all starts with cellular drainage.
Your cells produce waste as they make energy to keep you going, rebuild and repair damaged tissues, and attack foreign invaders. They also pick up toxins from the environment like heavy metals, pesticides, and air pollutants.
Your cells expel this waste and it moves from your organs and tissues into the lymphatic system, which sends fluid to the spleen and liver to be filtered. Then, the toxins are eliminated through bowel waste as described above.
Take Care of Your Excretory System
The excretory system may be the least talked-about chain of organs in our bodies, but it shouldn’t be! It’s vital for eliminating waste, toxins, and excess liquid from our bodies, and we wouldn’t live long without it. Learning how your excretory system works is the first step in taking care of it so it can take care of you in return.
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