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Female urethra and urethral sphincter

Explore the female urethra & urethral sphincter and find out why, compared to males, females are more at risk of problems with urinary continence.
© Association for Continence Advice. CC BY-NC 4.0

The female urethra has only one function which is micturition of urine.

The female urethra has a length of 4-6cm, and is a straight tube which angles slightly backwards towards the anus. It is important to understand this when undertaking catheterisation.

Female urethra and urethral sphincters

Figure 2.4: Female bladder showing the position the ureters enter the bladder, the trigone and the sphincters.

In females there is only one actual bladder neck sphincter, the external sphincter, comprising striated/skeletal muscle under the voluntary control of the somatic nervous system.

This muscle can be exercised and will strengthen with pelvic floor exercises.

Compared to males, females are more at risk of problems with their urinary continence, as they have a short urethra and only one bladder neck sphincter.

© Association for Continence Advice. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Understanding Continence Promotion: Effective Management of Bladder and Bowel Dysfunction in Adults

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