Excretory System Functions
The human excretory system is wrongly limited merely to the mechanism for the excretion of indigestible organic and inorganic materials out of the body but, in fact, it does a lot more. Along with being a passive biological system for the removal of excess and unnecessary materials, it also involves the detoxification of poisons and other harmful substances, and assists in the maintenance of homeostasis within the body of a human being. Let's now move to the comprehensive and brief description of some of the most important functions of human excretory system that will help you a great deal in understanding the vital importance of this system in the body.
Excretion of Semi-Solid Waste
One of the major and most important duties assigned to this system is the removal of indigestible, semi - solid waste products that, moving along the alimentary canal, enter the large intestine for their temporary storage. However, in this organ of the excretory system, you will witness the absorption of leftover substances, including salts, minerals, vitamins and water. In this way, the majority of the waste and harmful substances is excreted out of the body in the form of semi-solid mass, called feces.
Excretion of Liquid Waste
The elimination of liquid wastes, out of your body, is accomplished by two separate mechanisms, namely, urination (urine production and its discharge) and sweating. The major organs involved in the discharge of liquid waste include kidneys, urethra, ureters, and urinary bladder. The liquid waste is secreted and collected in the kidneys, which is then transferred to the temporary storage organ, urinary bladder, from where it is discharged out of the body by a voluntary action.
Excretion of Gaseous Waste
Gaseous waste is produced in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) during different metabolic activities in your body, which is then expelled out of the body through exhalation. So, here it becomes obvious that your lungs play the role of an extremely important excretory because the accumulation of carbon dioxide, in your body, may result in severe consequence for your health as well as life.
Detoxification of Harmful Substances
In the metabolic processes, different kinds of poisons, toxins and other harmful substances are produced which need to be partially or completely neutralized, so that your body is saved from serious damages. The organ of your excretory system that is assigned such an important duty is the liver which, for example, converts more harmful substance ammonia into a mild or less dangerous compound, called urea. In this way your delicate and sensitive internal body organs are saved from the imminent damage of these poisonous and toxic substances.
Maintenance of Homeostasis
The perfect maintenance of constant internal body environment, as opposed to fluctuations in the external environment, is very necessary not only for health but also for your very survival. For example, when you go out in the scorching heat of summer, more and more environmental heat tends to heat your body, thus drastically increasing the internal body temperature beyond optimum levels. To safeguard your body against such extreme environmental conditions, the eccrine or sweat glands are triggered into vigorous action. The large quantities of sweat poured out of your body through small pores in the skin are meant for the initiation and continuity of the cooling mechanism.
The scientific principle, involved in this mechanism, is that, "evaporation causes cooling" because in this process high energy water molecules escape, leaving behind only low energy molecules that bring considerable decrease in your body temperature.
Storage of Waste
Besides the collection and elimination of waste and rubbish materials, you will also see some organs in your body that are specialized for the temporary storage of solid and liquid waste, such as rectum (temporary storage for undigested semi-solid mass) and urinary bladder (short-term storage for liquid waste). Such specialized components of the excretory system are almost indispensable for a healthy lifestyle and the success of advanced social and highly civilized behavior among humans. It is, primarily, because both the processes of urination and discharge of feces are brought under your voluntary control, so that you can hold the wastes in place till the time you reach a place that is, especially, meant for excretions, such as toilet or lavatory.
Discharge of Seminal Fluid
Running along the entire length of penis, the comparatively long urethra in human males is used not only for the discharge of urine but also assists the process of ejaculation. Ejaculation is, actually, a biological terminology which, particularly, refers to the discharge of seminal fluid (or semen) from the penis of a male into the vagina of a female during copulations.