Your kidneys make urine by filtering wastes and extra water from your blood. The urine travels from the kidneys to the bladder in two thin tubes called ureters.
The ureters are about 8 to 10 inches long. Muscles in the ureter walls tighten and relax to force urine down and away from the kidneys. Small amounts of urine flow from the ureters into the bladder about every 10 to 15 seconds.
Sometimes the ureters can become blocked or injured. This can block the flow of urine to the bladder. If urine stands still or backs up the ureter, you may get a urinary tract infections.
Doctors diagnose problems with the ureters using different tests. These include urine tests, x-rays, and examination of the ureter with a scope called a cystoscope. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. It may include medicines and, in severe cases, surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Diagnosis and Tests
- Cystoscopy and Ureteroscopy (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Imaging of the Urinary Tract (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) (Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology) Also in Spanish
- General Information about Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Vesicoureteral Reflux (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)
- Genetics Home Reference: retroperitoneal fibrosis (National Library of Medicine)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Surgery versus non-surgical management for unilateral ureteric-pelvic junction obstruction in...
- Article: Minimally Invasive Techniques for the Management of Adult UPJ Obstruction.
- Article: Evolving Guidance on Ureteric Calculi Management in the Acute Setting.
- Ureteral Disorders -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Directory of Kidney and Urologic Diseases Organizations (National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse) - PDF
- Find a Urologist (Urology Care Foundation)
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases