A tiny plastic tube known as a kidney or ureteral stent is inserted into the ureter, a smooth muscular tube that transports urine from the kidney to the bladder.
The bottom of the stent is implanted in your bladder, while the top is inserted in your kidney.
Stents are often only needed temporarily and are removed after a few days, although they may be required for months or even years. Inserting a kidney stent is a straightforward outpatient surgery and is not visible from the outside of the body.
Nephrotomies, in which a stent is put into the kidney and the urine is directly drained into a bag outside the body, may be necessary in some cases. In most cases, a doctor won’t utilize a nephrostomy catheter unless a kidney stent cannot be placed due to scarring or another issue that precludes proper implantation.
✅ In the event that your urethra is temporarily or permanently blocked, you might require a kidney stent or nephrostomy.
✅ Most stents are placed in the urethra, left there for a brief period of time, and then removed once the obstruction is cleared or the urethra has recovered.
✅ It can be difficult to fall asleep with a stent in place, so if pain or irritation keeps you awake, talk to your doctor about possible pharmaceutical options.
✅ Exercise earlier in the day, drink less water before bed, and sleep on the side opposite the stent are among the options you can consider.
✅ Call your doctor straight away if you experience any symptoms of an infection while using a stent.
Why would a Kidney stent be used?
In three distinct circumstances, doctors employ ureteral stents:
- To get around a blockage in your ureter or kidney, if you have one. Blood clots, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, and other conditions can develop obstructions in the ureteropelvic junction, which affects urine flow mostly in hereditary conditions.
- Keep a kidney stone from obstructing the urine’s flow as you pass it.
- It protects your ureter during recovery after kidney stone surgery and makes sure that urine can still flow in spite of any postoperative edema.
A renal stent is typically only used for a few days or weeks before being removed. People with tumors or narrow ureters might require a stent for a longer time. Stents are changed in this situation every three to six months.
Adverse effects of kidney stent use
A kidney stent may irritate more than 80% of patients. This can be a perceived kidney stone-type pain which usually goes away when the stent is taken out.
The following are the side effects of stents can be:
- an increased desire to urinate especially throughout the day
- an inability to empty the bladder
- Traces of the blood in the urine
- Pain at the tip of the penis
Alpha-blockers may be recommended by your doctor to help with stent-related discomfort. You can be examined for a urinary tract infection if the discomfort gets worse because having a stent increases the risk.
While the majority of increased urine frequency is usually more noticeable when you’re up and moving around, nocturia—the need to urinate more frequently at night—can disrupt sleep.
How are kidney stents placed?
Stent insertion is a common outpatient treatment, although it frequently needs general anesthesia, which renders you unconscious and painless throughout the process. A small scope device with a lens will be inserted into the bladder by the surgeon using ultrasound or x-ray imaging.
The stent will be inserted using a tiny guidewire that has been inserted through the scope.
Due to the sedative’s residual effects, you will need a driver to take you home. To support the function of your kidneys, you should consume enough water.
For the first several days, blood in the urine is typical.
A short string that hangs out of the end of the urethra on temporary stents may be attached, enabling removal without the need for a second treatment. Your doctor could urge you to postpone sexual activity until the stent is removed if you have one of these strings.
How to rest comfortably with a kidney stent
In general, pain from a blockage or stones hurts less than that brought on by a kidney stent. Most people do, however, experience some degree of pain, which can make it challenging to fall asleep.
Whether you’re concerned, think about asking your doctor if there are any drugs, such as alpha-blockers, that can make you feel more at ease. Additionally, because it relieves pressure, many patients find it more pleasant to sleep on the side opposite the stent.
Advice for sleeping while wearing a renal stent
Here are some suggestions for improving sleep quality while wearing a renal stent:
Drink more water.
Your doctor will advise drinking a lot of water if you’re trying to pass a stone. However, if you have trouble falling back to sleep, drinking water late at night increases your urge to urinate during the night, which might negatively impact your quality of sleep. Early in the day is the best time to consume water to stay hydrated.
Avoid exercising after midnight.
Some people favor nighttime workouts. However, it’s better to avoid exercise right before bedtime if you have kidney stents because it can make you feel worse.
Additionally, if you plan to exercise, talk to your doctor about which exercises to avoid since some of them may not be safe for you to perform while you have a stent.
Increase your intake of fiber
Discomfort brought on by stents may be exacerbated by constipation. Increased fiber consumption can help you avoid constipation.
Maintain decent sleeping habits.
When attempting to sleep with a stent, it is much more crucial to follow all the procedures you know you should follow to enhance your sleep quality every night. Avoid using screens right before night, keep your bedroom cool and dark, and follow your sleep pattern.
Consult your doctor first before using any vitamins or sleeping aids. Additionally, whether it is safe to take over-the-counter painkillers, your doctor will provide advice.
Risk factors with kidney stents
The danger of infection is the main hazard connected to renal stents. Your body may attempt to reject the stent because it is foreign, which could lead to a urinary tract infection. Your medical professional might remove your stent early if it causes an infection.
When the stent is left in place for a long time, these hazards are more prevalent. If you can see the stent’s tip outside of your body, get medical assistance right away. Otherwise, be alert for other symptoms of problems, such as trouble urinating, significant blood clots, or persistent blood in the urine.
A percutaneous nephrostomy2 poses the risk of infection, which could develop into septic shock, similar to a kidney stent. Blockage or kinking of the tube provides another concern. Keep an eye out for indications of infection, and get in touch with your doctor right away if you experience kidney-related pain, a fever, chills, or any other symptoms.
When should a go and pay my doctor a visit?
In order to have a stent altered or removed, you’ll probably need to make another appointment with your doctor. Your doctor could advise you to remove your stent yourself if it has a removal string, though.
If you see any of the following indications of complications, get in touch with your doctor right away:
A dull aching deep on the left or right side near your kidneys, clots and tissue in your urine (a small amount of blood is typical), difficulty urinating, extreme pain or a burning feeling, dark, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine, nausea, and a fever or chills.
If you have an infection, you should get help right away. Regardless of whether you have additional symptoms or problems, it is imperative that you visit your doctor if your stent becomes visible.
If the discomfort from the stent is hurting your everyday life, you should also talk to your doctor since they may be able to give medication to help. The discomfort brought on by a stent is typically not as bad as the agony you might otherwise feel.