All About Kidneys: What Does the Kidney Do?

Welcome to Kidneys 101, class. Kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of a clenched fist. Healthy kidneys filter about a half cup of blood every minute, removing waste and extra water to make urine, and help your body maintain a healthy balance of water, salts and minerals. 

Most humans are born with two kidneys, which also include two ureters, a bladder and a urethra. How do your bean buddies work? We drop some renal knowledge on you in our fact-filled How Kidneys Work poster, pictured above, the perfect golden throne decor. Learn about how you make pee, while you pee.

Not everyone is born with two kidneys. Some humans get one, some are born with extras. This part of us develops when we’re floating little fetuses. At 13 weeks, baby is peeing into mom’s amniotic fluid. Fetal urine is basically liquid gold and is important for keeping the amniotic fluid healthy, along with the overall health of the baby.  

Luckily, you can live without one kidney, but you still need one functioning kidney to filter blood, balance your minerals and chemicals, and, of course, to help you pee. A solo kidney can grow into a big whopper the size of two kidneys combined! 

Missing a functioning kidney? Get yourself a plushie pair of Kidney Slippers! There are two of them, so try not to lose another one.

Pee isn’t always yellow. If your kidneys aren’t working correctly, your urine color might change. You might find yourself going to the bathroom less frequently, or your pee might be a darker color like brown, red, or purple. In some cases, your urine might contain blood. If you’re experiencing that, stop reading this blog and get your kidneys to the nearest emergency room pronto.

What happens when someone can’t pee? Well, if you watch Euphoria, you might remember Season 1, Episode 7: The Trials and Tribulations of Trying to Pee While Depressed. Zendaya's character Rue is hospitalized and can’t pee! As a result, she is hospitalized with a kidney infection. The struggle is real. Or should we say, the struggle is renal? Check out The Struggle is Renal kidney art prints, t-shirts, and blankets.

We’re talking about the importance of kidneys because March is National Kidney Month — and because a whopping 7 million Americans are estimated to have chronic kidney disease (CKD).  

Kidney disease stinks. It means your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly and can’t properly filter fluids. The kicker? As many as 9 in 10 of these people are undiagnosed with CKD, according to the CDC.


Sadly there is no known cure for kidney disease, but there are ways to slow it down. The main treatments for kidney disease are lifestyle changes like eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and refraining from smoking.

When someone experiences kidney failure, they might need a kidney transplant or dialysis. The best way to figure out if you have kidney disease is to talk to your doctor. 


Sometimes our kidneys get crafty and make kidney stones. When small, these hard mineral deposits can pass through our peepee tubes easily. If they’re big, they hurt like heck and you might need to see a doctor.  

As with kidney disease diagnosis, the best way to find out if you have a kidney stone is to ask your doctor. Our kidneys love keeping docs busy, so thank your caring medical staff with a pair of our Kidney Socks or a Kidney Plush to show them you’re grateful. 

Urine our hearts. Whether your kidneys are the perfect purifiers or your beans are being naughty, we’ve got your back.

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