ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY
The urinary tract is a complex system divided into high urinary tract, with two kidneys and two ureters, and low urinary tract with bladder and urethra, which are responsible for producing, containing and expelling urine.
Urine is produced by kidneys, which are filtering organs and serve to cleanse the blood from urea, as well as toxic substances and waste collected from tissue. Its color varies with the concentration of water and protein. Once formed, it crosses the ureter and is collected in the bladder from which it is released by passing through a narrow channel called urethra.
In 80% of cases cystitis is caused by fecal bacteria normally present in the intestine that reach and colonize the bladder. In women, the anus’ proximity to the vagina and urethra facilitates the passage of bacteria to the bladder.
Prostatitis and prostate inflammation, a gland lying below the bladder and surrounding the urethra, are more common in men. When the prostate tissue is inflamed, it increases in volume and compresses the urethra, making it difficult to pass urine and emptying the bladder.
Under normal and healthy conditions, the urinary pH undergoes constant fluctuations throughout the day. In healthy subjects, the pH is basically (> 7) shortly after meals, while it is acidic (<7) before meals and overnight.
Bacteria prefer a basic pH to survive and replicate, but if they find an unfavorable environment (pH <7) they die and cease to proliferate. Normalizing urinary pH is, therefore, crucial to avoid the risk of cystitis.
Why is it important to keep the urinary system healthy?
A well-functioning urinary system keeps the acid-base balance and the hydrosaline balance of our body under control.
The foods we introduce into our body on a daily basis contain alkaline (OH-) and acidic (H +) amounts, which raise and lower blood pH, generating lactic or alkaline acidosis. To be healthy, our body must maintain the blood pH within a range of 7.35 to 7.45 and it does so through various mechanisms:
Bone swab system: in the presence of acidosis, the most immediate source from which to draw alkaline is represented by the bones, which are constituted by 80% of phosphates and carbonates. The bone is then disintegrated and calcium is released, ending up in urine through which it is expelled. If alkali and calcium are not properly reintegrated, osteoporosis may begin to develop.
Pulmonary Respiration: If the carbonic acid concentration is too high, acid is decomposed into water and carbon dioxide, eliminated through the lungs by increasing the respiratory rate.
Kidney excretion and renal absorption: kidneys play a decisive role in maintaining the right pH range in the blood; in fact, they filter out excess acidity (H +), pouring it into the urine, and, at the same time, reabsorb alkaline (bicarbonate HCO3-) substances through cell membranes. Thanks to this mechanism, the urinary pH undergoes fluctuations throughout the day, keeping acid for several hours and providing some kind of natural protection against microorganisms.
Slightly acidic urine (5.5-6.5), in fact, disadvantages the survival of bacteria that prefer alkaline environments and, thus, protects kidneys as well as bladder from infections.
What is the salt and water equilibrium?
Kidneys, through filtration, re-absorption, secretion and excretion processes, regulate the amount of water and electrolytes in the body fluids by controlling the concentration of sodium, Potassium, chloride, potassium and calcium neutral phosphate (Na +, K +, Cl-, PO3 -, Ca2 +) and other essential substances for the functioning of the organism.
Excesses in daily diet, metabolic imbalances and kidney disease may interfere with the functioning of this system and cause the onset of disorders such as Kidney Stones.