Kidney stent also known as ureteral stent is a thin, hollow tube that is placed in the ureter to help urine pass from the kidney into the bladder. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.
You may have a small amount of blood in your urine for 1 to 3 days after the procedure. While the stent is in place, you may have to urinate more often, feel a sudden need to urinate, or feel like you can’t completely empty your bladder. You may feel some pain when you urinate or do strenuous activity. You also may notice a small amount of blood in your urine after strenuous activities. These side effects usually don’t prevent people from doing their normal daily activities.
You may have a thin string coming out of your urethra. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body. This string is attached to the stent. Try not to pull on the string. It will be used to pull out the stent when you no longer need it.
After the procedure, urine may flow better from your kidneys to your bladder. A ureteral stent may be left in place for several days or for as long as several months. Your doctor will take it out when you no longer need it. Or, in some cases, it may be taken out at home.
When are kidney stents inserted and what are the challenges?
A ureteric stent is sometimes placed as an emergency to bypass an unexpected blockage in the ureter such as kidney stones. This is usually a temporary measure only to treat the blockage and you will be required to return after several weeks for a definitive procedure to breakdown and remove the stones. A ureteric stent may also be inserted at the end of surgery involving your ureter. This is to protect you from blockage caused by swelling that occurs in the first few days after the procedure. Your surgeon should give you an indication of how long a stent is intended to stay in for, as the length of time can vary.
Unfortunately, stent symptoms are common and for many, but not all people, they can be quite uncomfortable. Some of the symptoms can mimic cystitis but you don’t necessarily need antibiotics. Common symptoms include:
- Blood in urine – can be worse after strenuous activity
- Urgency and urinary frequency
- Pain in the kidney – this is often worse when passing urine
- Irritated bladder – this can cause discomfort
- Burning when passing urine.
How to Sleep With A Kidney Stent
Adequate sleep is crucial to maintaining mental, physical, and emotional health. Pain, medication, insomnia, and other sleep disturbances associated with surgery all too frequently get in the way of the sleep needed to support recovery. You need sleep to heal, and after surgery or procedure, you might require extra help to receive the seven to nine hours you need. Sleep-supportive lifestyle changes and close consultation with your medical providers can put you on the path to better sleep with a kidney stent.
The following tips can help you get a better sleep with a kidney stent:
Take your pain medications. Even if you are feeling good, your body still needs medications prior to physical therapy, after physical therapy and prior to bed with a kidney stent. The last daily dose of pain medication that should be eliminated is the nighttime dose.
Do your best to go to bed and wake at consistent times. This will help your body get used to sleeping with a kidney stent.
If you have tried all of the above, and you are still struggling, reach out to your surgeon’s office for additional help. Be prepared to provide specific symptoms: what does the pain feel like? When does it start? Are you staring at the ceiling, or falling asleep but cannot stay asleep? Are you having pain, or will your brain not turn off? He or she may prescribe sleep medications that can help you get good sleep even with a kidney stent.