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The human urogenital system is a combination of two systems of the body: the reproductive system and the urinary system. Generally, the reproductive system is necessary for procreation, and the urinary system is responsible for the formation and elimination of urine. Both parts of the urogenital system share common original tissue from the fetal stage. They also have common ducts that allow the excretion of urine and the ejaculation of sperm, although at different times.
The urinary system of both males and females are almost identical. It usually is composed of two kidneys, two ureters, one bladder, and one urethra. The kidneys are the main organs of the urogenital system. When blood passes through the kidneys, harmful substances and waste products typically are filtered out and removed from the body in the form of urine. Kidneys usually help maintain a balance of water and salt in the body, while also producing the hormone erythropoietin, which promotes red blood cell production.
Each kidney usually is connected to a ureter – which is about 10 to 12 inches long (about 25.4 cm to 30.5 cm) – that allows passage of urine to the bladder. The bladder temporarily stores urine before excreting it out through the urethra in a process known as urination. A female urethra typically is shorter that a male urethra, and is used only for urination. On the other hand, the male urethra usually is longer and acts as a passage way for urine, prostate secretions, and sperm.
The reproductive system of males and females in the urogenital system varies considerably. Male reproductive system components include testes, seminal vesicles, seminal ducts, prostate, and penis. The parts present in the female reproductive system include ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, and clitoris.
Male testes are responsible for the formation of sperm and for the production of male hormones, or androgens. Each testicle is enclosed in the scrotum for protection and regulation of heat. Secretions from the prostate gland and the seminal vesicles make up semen which enhances the passage of sperm through the urethra. Semen is alkaline in nature in order to neutralize the acidity of the vagina, thereby prolonging the life of the sperm once ejaculation takes place during intercourse. The penis is the external male sex organ that contains the urethra through which both urine and sperm flow.
The two ovaries in females function in the production of eggs, or ova, and the production of the female hormone estrogen. Each one is connected to a fallopian tube which the egg passes through on its way to the uterus. The uterus is a hollow organ where implantation of the fertilized egg usually occurs. When implantation fails, the egg undergoes changes and menstruation begins. The vagina is a muscular tube inside the female that receives the penis during intercourse.
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