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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Human Anatomy

Picture of the Human Kidney

Picture of the Kidneys

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The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long -- about the size of a fist.

The kidneys' function are to filter the blood. All the blood in our bodies passes through the kidneys several times a day. The kidneys remove wastes, control the body's fluid balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes. As the kidneys filter blood, they create urine, which collects in the kidneys' pelvis -- funnel-shaped structures that drain down tubes called ureters to the bladder.

Each kidney contains around a million units called nephrons, each of which is a microscopic filter for blood. It's possible to lose as much as 90% of kidney function without experiencing any symptoms or problems.

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