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The ureter is a tube that carries urine from the kidney to the urinary bladder. There are two ureters, one attached to each kidney. The upper half of the ureter is located in the abdomen and the lower half is located in the pelvic area. 

The ureter is about 10 to 12 inches long in the average adult. The tube has thick walls composed of a fibrous, a muscular, and a mucus coat, which are able to contract. 

Ureter disorders include:

  • Duplication of the ureter: a congenital (from birth) condition in which two ureters form on the same kidney.
  • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction: this occurs when the connection between the kidney and ureter is blocked, preventing urine from exiting the kidney.
  • Ureterovesical junction obstruction: When the connection between the ureter and bladder is blocked.

If any of these disorders occur, the passage of urine is blocked and can cause pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidney due to infection), loss of renal function, or renal calculi (kidney stones). Treatment is possible through insertion of a catheter (a special tube), a stent (a support to keep vessels or tubes open), or through surgery. If an infection is found, antibiotics are often prescribed.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Ureter

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