The normal bladder
Your bladder is a hollow pelvic organ with flexible, muscular walls that stores urine. The average adult bladder holds about 2 cups of urine. Urine is made by the kidneys and is then carried to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The urine leaves the bladder through another tube called the urethra. In women, the urethra is a very short tube that ends just in front of the vagina. In men, the urethra is longer. It passes through the prostate gland and the penis, and ends at the tip of the penis.
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The wall of the bladder has several layers. A layer of cells lines the inside of the kidney, ureter, bladder, and urethra.
These cells are called urothelial or transitional cells, and so this layer is called the urothelium or transitional epithelium. Beneath the urothelium, there is a thin layer of connective tissue called the lamina propria. Next, there is a layer of muscle tissue called the muscularis propria.
Beyond this muscle, another zone of fatty connective tissue separates the bladder from other nearby organs. These layers are very important in understanding bladder cancer. As the cancer penetrates or grows through these layers into the wall of the bladder, it becomes harder to treat.
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