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Ureters ˈyu̇r-ət-ər, yu̇-ˈrēt-ər

By Navin Jaipaul, MD, MHS, Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine; Chief, Nephrology, VA Loma Linda Healthcare System

The ureters are muscular tubes—about 16 inches (40 centimeters) long—that attach at their upper end to the kidneys and at their lower end to the bladder.

Urine formed in the kidneys flows through the ureters into the bladder, but it does not flow passively. The ureters push each small amount of urine along in waves of contraction, at low pressure. At the bladder, each ureter passes through an opening in the bladder wall, which closes when the bladder contracts to prevent urine from flowing back into the ureter (reflux).