Genitourinary System Basic Care Plan Introduction

The genitourinary system is made up of the reproductive organs, the kidneys, ureters, urethra, and bladder. The kidneys regulate fluid and electrolyte balance, maintain the pH of the body, and provide for the excretion of the end product of protein metabolism in the form of urea. Fluid and electrolyte balance is controlled by filtration, reabsorption, and secretion of these substances during urine formation in the glomeruli and renal tubules. The kidneys produce erythropoietin-stimulating factor in response to lowered oxygen levels, which increases red blood cell production in the bone marrow. They also release renin in response to hypotension, which initiates the renin-angiotensin pathway to increase blood pressure.

Urine descends through the ureters to the bladder, where it is stored until it is excreted via the urethra. Disease processes may cause inflammation, tissue damage, and scarring with resultant dysfunction of the organs or structures of the genitourinary system. Structural defects may be either congenital or acquired and can obstruct urine flow causing renal damage and possibly lead to kidney failure. The kidneys of infants and children are immature in regard to fluid and electrolyte balance because of their limited ability to concentrate urine. This creates increased risk for fluid and electrolyte fluctuations and the possibility of dehydration during illness. Renal function matures as the child grows.

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