Your doctor ideally places kidney stents to help you feel better. But around 80 percent of people with kidney stents report discomfort and severe pain at night. So how to sleep with a kidney stent comfortably? Read this article to learn some tips and tricks for a comfy and painless sleep.

Sleeping is crucial to speed up the healing process if you’ve recently undergone critical surgery or medical intervention. However, having a comfortable sleep can become quite complicated in such situations. Especially if you just got a kidney stent which is graded as a harrowing experience by an estimated 80 percent of the people that got a kidney stent to help them pass urine.

The good news is that you and your doctor can work on many ways to make this horrendous experience a comfortable one so that you can start pacing toward your healing journey with ease; in this guide, we’ll walk you through most of the ways to sleep comfortably with a kidney stent so you can ensure maximum recovery. So read on to learn how to sleep with a kidney stent.

And if you’re someone who is helping a patient out and needs to know the basics of kidney stents, like what is a kidney stent and who needs a kidney stent, then don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with this detailed guide where we’ll go through some of the basics of kidney stents to help you get a clearer picture.

What is a kidney stent?

A kidney stent is a thin plastic tube that is placed into your ureter to hold the ureters open. The ureters are narrow tubes that are a part of the urinary system. The function of these thin tubes is to carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The muscles in the urethral walls continuously tighten and relax to carry urine away from the kidneys.

Ureteral stents are made up of silicone or polyurethane (plastic), and they are about 10 to 15 inches long as well as a quarter inch in diameter. They are designed in a way that they line the entire length of the ureter and keep it open. A loop at the end of the kidney stent is made to sit inside the bladder, and the top part has a coil that sits inside the kidney.

A kidney stent is placed to help drain urine from your kidney. Otherwise, your kidneys won’t be able to drain properly and become filled with urine which would cause swelling. This condition can be caused by kidney stones, inflammations caused by surgery, or scar tissue. A kidney stent aids your kidneys in gaining back proper function so they can work as they are supposed to. Depending on your condition, you may be told to use a kidney stent for a week, a month, or even a year.

Who needs a kidney stent?

A person might need a kidney stent in problematic situations where the ureters can become blocked, preventing the urine from draining as it usually does. This is where a kidney stent can help as it helps clear the kidneys so they can work as they should.

The most typical use of ureteral stents is to let the urine pass through the ureter around the area where the kidney stone could have been blocking the urine from flowing. Your doctor may also recommend or use a stent after breaking up a stone, as the fragments from the stone can prevent the urine from passing through in the usual manner and can cause blockage.

Another reason for your healthcare provider to use kidney stents is to avoid blockage after removing a kidney stone which can be caused due to postoperative swelling. Healthcare providers also use kidney stents to treat ureteral blockage caused by:

  • Blood clots.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  • Scar tissue buildup from endometriosis or other conditions.
  • Tumors.
  • Ureteral stones.
  • Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (an inherited disorder that causes the ureters to narrow).

How is the procedure for kidney stent placement carried out?

Suppose you are facing any health condition that is acting as an obstruction to the normal process of passing urine. In that case, your doctor is definitely going to ask you to get the procedure for urethral stent placement done.

The sound of getting a procedure performed on you is obviously going to be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing but don’t worry; your doctor will make sure that they make the procedure as comfortable as possible for you. Before a kidney stent procedure, your health care provider may ask you to.

  • Get some blood tests done to check your kidney functioning.
  • Give your healthcare provider a list of your medications and supplements.
  • You should stop taking any blood thinning medications like aspirin.
  • Your doctor will ask you to fast (not eat or drink) for a specified time before the procedure.

After taking the necessary initial steps, your doctor schedules an appointment for the procedure. Kidney stent placement is typically an outpatient procedure. That means you can go home on the same day of the procedure. A urologist specializes in conditions affecting the urinary system and performs the procedure.

Before the procedure begins, your doctor will give you anesthesia so that you are unconscious and numb to all the pain; thus, you’ll be asleep throughout. You would lie on your back for the procedure while your healthcare provider performs the following steps.

  • Your doctor will use an X-ray or a kidney ultrasound to locate where the blockage is so that they can carry out the procedure accordingly.
  • Then, your provider will insert a tiny camera called a cystoscopy into the bladder through the urethra. The urethra is the tube through which the urine leaves your body when you pass it out.
  • Then, the doctor will thrust a thin, flexible wire known as the guidewire through the cystoscopy into the area of blockage in the ureter.
  • The doctor will use the guidewire to place the kidney stent in place of the obstruction. There would be two curled ends; one curled part would rest inside the bladder, and the other would be placed inside the kidney. The coils would help keep the kidney stent in place.
  • The doctor would then remove the guidewire cautiously while leaving the stent behind.

Getting a kidney stent might seem nerve-wracking and painful, but it’s up to your healthcare provider to make things easier for you and more comfortable to ensure you don’t suffer while getting a kidney stent. It would be better if you discuss things beforehand with your doctor to be well-equipped with every detail of placing a kidney stent in your kidney.

What happens after the kidney stent placement procedure?

As we discussed earlier, a kidney stent placement is an outpatient procedure. So you won’t be asked to stay in the hospital for long. Your provider might keep you in for a while for observation, and then someone might be asked to take you home. Your healthcare provider would ask you to drink a good amount of water after the procedure to help with the functioning of the kidney.

You will most probably notice a trace amount of blood in your urine. Along with that, there will be a lot of discomfort for you (after all, there is a piece of plastic inside of you holding your urethra opening). These symptoms would persist for some time but would subside after a while, or you’ll most probably get used to them.

Keep in mind that you’ll see these symptoms until your healthcare provider removes the kidney stent. In addition to the symptoms you already have, you might also experience frequent urination and some pain in the kidney, which tends to get worse over time or until you have a kidney stent in place. But the blood in your urine might go away after a while.

How to take care of yourself after the kidney stent procedure?

After you are done with the procedure, you will notice that your urine flow is better and less painful as the stent broadens the walls allowing the urine to flow through the kidneys efficiently. The kidney stent may be left in the kidney for quite some time, depending on the severity of your condition, which can take months or even a year. Your doctor can be the best judge of how long you’ll need it and when it can be removed. While you have your kidney stent in place, try following these tips.

  • Don’t overwork yourself. Get some rest as soon as you get tired. The more that you rest, the more quickly you’ll heal.
  • Avoid hectic activities like going to the gym to lift weights, jogging, and cardio until your doctor gives you the green signal.
  • Do not drive until your doctor says it’s okay to drive.
  • Most people can return to work the next day after getting a kidney stent. But unless your job isn’t comfortably sitting in a chair behind a computer screen and signing some papers, it’s better to take medical leave as you won’t be able to get involved in any sort of strenuous activity after getting a kidney stent.
  • Regarding diet, you can have your regular meals, but it’s better to have foods that do not cause inflammation and have hydrating benefits, as you’ll frequently be urinating.
  • Try incorporating plenty of fluids into your routine (unless your doctor forbids you to).
  • If you were on any sort of medication prior to getting your kidney stent, then you would need to consult your doctor if you can start having them again.
  • If you take any sort of blood thinner like aspirin regularly, consult your doctor before restarting it.
  • If you are given any sort of medication like painkillers, then be cautious with them and take them as directed by your physician.
  • If you think your painkillers make you sick in the stomach, try having them after meals or ask your doctor to change them.
  • Do follow up with your doctor as it is necessary. Take your appointments seriously.

Kidney stents can be painful and uncomfortable, and the experience can take a toll on you. Following the tips above can ease the time you spend having a kidney stent and help you heal faster from the procedure. You might worsen your situation if you are not careful with your routine.

How to sleep with a kidney stent?

Now the million-dollar question for what you’ve been reading this article for is “how to sleep with a kidney stent?” Sleep plays a significant role in our well-being and overall health. How we feel throughout the day largely depends on how well we’ve slept at night. We might not be able to put our finger on it, but during sleep, our body is working towards maintaining our physical health and supporting the healthy functioning of the brain.

After the insertion of your stent, you should make sure that you follow all of your doctor’s recommendations. If you follow your doctor’s advice efficiently, you have a greater chance of recovering from the procedure as soon as possible. Another great contributing factor to your recovery is getting good sleep.

But as we discussed earlier, kidney stents can be uncomfortable and painful. Living your daily life normally and having quality sleep can become difficult with a kidney stent, but it’s still not impossible.

Side note: the medicines mentioned in this article are just to give you a guideline as to how you can minimize your discomfort. You should never start incorporating any suggested medicine into your daily routine without consulting your doctor, especially when going through a medical complication.

  • Consult your doctor about alpha-blockers
  • Consult your doctor about anticholinergic medications
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Try scheduling your fluid intake
  • Avoid engaging in any physical activity before bed
  • Increase your fiber intake
  • Practice good sleep hygiene
  • The best sleeping position with a kidney stent

Consult your doctor about alpha-blockers

Alpha-blockers are efficiently used to control muscle cramps or spasms in the ureter and help keep the ureter open. Alpha[blockers that are usually used for kidney stent pain are tamsulosin and alfuzosin. These medicines can help control the pain caused by kidney stents. But be sure to thoroughly consult your doctor because all sorts of medications come with side effects, like with alpha-blockers; you can suffer dizziness when you stand and a stuffy nose.

Consult your doctor about anticholinergic medications

After getting a kidney stent, your bladder can become overly active, and you might need to urinate quite often. Anticholinergic medications are formulated to help people with kidney stents control their overactive bladders, especially during the night when frequent urination disrupts your sleep.

Anticholinergic medications work similarly to alpha-blockers, but you must consult your doctor before using them as they also have certain side effects. Their side effects include dry mouth and constipation. In addition, research has indicated a certain link between anticholinergic medications and the risk of developing dementia. Especially in people over the age of 65, so do consult your doctor about your case.

Taking over-the-counter pain relievers

Many common painkillers are available to us readily at home, like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), which don’t even require a doctor’s prescription. If you try taking them before going to bed, they can be quite helpful in eliminating any sort of discomfort and pain that you may incur during sleep. Besides ibuprofen, other over-the-counter medications are available, like naproxen (Aleve) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).

You will need to go through trial and error to see which one works for you because it is different for everyone, as one might work better for you but not for someone else. And some people even prefer alternating between other medications. But you must be careful while using aspirin as it is a blood thinner. Be sure to consult your doctor before using it.

Try scheduling your fluid intake

Your doctor would definitely recommend taking plenty of fluids, especially drinking plenty of water. As water would help flush out blood and urine through your kidneys. But here’s the catch: drinking a lot of water before bed can increase your urinary frequency throughout the night and hinder your goal of having a good night of sleep.

To avoid this, try drinking as much water as possible throughout the day and limit your water intake after dinner. This can help you with your urinary urgency at night. Your goal should be to keep the urine color pale yellow, as it indicates that you are hydrated; anything darker can indicate that you need to drink more water.

Avoid engaging in any physical activity before bed

Your doctor would recommend you not get involved in any sort of strenuous physical activity for at least 24 hours after getting the procedure done. You might start doing some light exercises after that period (i.e., if you are a fitness fanatic). But it is advised not to do any physical activity before bed as it can increase discomfort during sleep.

Increase your fiber intake

Constipation can result in stent-related uneasiness. Many people suffer from constipation after surgery. Mostly this kind of constipation can occur from taking painkillers and spasm-control medications.

If you are feeling constipated and this is acting as a hindrance in your comfortable sleep, then contact your healthcare provider; usually, medication and a good diet with high fiber can help with constipation. Combating constipation with a high-fiber diet is highly recommended rather than taking medications.

Practice good sleep hygiene

All the practices that are recommended for sound sleep at night should be implemented after going through a kidney stent placement procedure because, as discussed, having a good night of sleep can immensely help in the post-op healing procedure. Try keeping your at the most optimal temperature (preferably cool) and keep your curtains so that your room can stay dark and the melanin can kick in.

Avoid any sort of screen time at least half an hour before bed, as it has been scientifically proven that blue light is bad for sleeping. Try using warmer lights in your surroundings if you need a light source while sleeping.

Try sticking to a sleep schedule, as it can immensely help regulate your sleep cycle. If all fails and you are considering trying sleeping pills or some sort of melatonin supplements before bed then definitely talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can give you the best advice regarding if taking over-the-counter sleep medication is safe for you or not.

The best sleeping position with a kidney stent

Until now, doctors and healthcare experts haven’t figured out the best sleeping position for people with kidney stents. However, when people share their personal experiences, they seem to emphasize that sleeping on the opposite side to where their stent has been placed has proven to be the best position to sleep for them. However, there is no research backing this claim, so you’ll have to decide for yourself which position is the best for you.

The tips mentioned above regarding how to sleep with a kidney stent can prove to be quite beneficial in helping you recover from your kidney stent procedure. However, remember that even if you still don’t have a kidney stent, a good night of sleep can benefit your physical and mental health. The kind of bedding you use or the current pillow you have is a big contributor to how well you can sleep at night.

If you’ve ever spent a night in a highly luxurious hotel, you can probably agree that high-quality bedding can positively impact how well you sleep. So do take notice of these intricate details while you sleep to ensure that you are doing everything required for a comfortable sleep to speed up your recovery.

Are there any restrictions regarding sleep positions you need to follow with a kidney stent?

Generally, there are no restrictions when sleeping when you get a kidney stent. But it can get a bit tricky at night while you sleep as you might feel there is something touching your insides. A kidney stent with a string has a string hanging from it, making it rather odd to switch sides while sleeping and can be limiting. You might be quite comfortable during the day as you are aware of your movements, but at night it can be quite tricky as you are not aware of your movements.

You will also need to keep a check if your string is in place at all times as it is there so that you or, preferably, your doctor can remove your kidney stent easily. You need to make sure that it doesn’t break or get lost while switching positions at night. Your doctor might even tape that string to your leg so that it is easier for you to take care of it unknowingly.

What are the side effects of having a kidney stent while sleeping?

It is reported that over 80% of people with a kidney stent may experience some sort of irritation. This sort of irritation is likely to resolve after the removal of the kidney stent. But something that is to be noted is that kidney stent discomfort is no way near to the irritation caused by a kidney stone so getting this procedure done is quite necessary. Side effects of the stent while you sleep, may include

  • Increased frequency of urination, particularly during the night, an issue called nocturia
  • Increased urgency of urination while sleeping, causing you to leave bed frequently
  • Bladder not being wholly emptied after urinating (most common in men) and causing frequent urination during the night
  • Pain between the hips and ribs or in the lower abdomen while in bed
  • Incontinence (lack of control of urination) may cause discomfort while you sleep
  • In men, pain at the tip of the penis while you sleep

Your doctor is likely to suggest medication such as alpha-blockers to relieve you of any sort of stent placement irritation at night. But if the irritation worsens, the doctor may ask you to get tested for a urinary tract infection as you are more likely to develop this infection with a stent. While the need to urinate frequently is usually more prominent throughout the day when you are busy with your daily activities, nocturia (needing to urinate more at night) can disturb your sleep at night.

What are the risks associated with a kidney stent while sleeping?

The risks associated with a kidney stent while sleeping are numerous and include the risk of blood clots, infection, and other complications. If you are going to be using your stent while sleeping, you must make sure that you take care of yourself. This means ensuring you get enough rest, eat well, drink plenty of fluids and avoid excessive alcohol. It is also important that you follow any instructions provided by your doctor.

If you’re suffering from kidney stones and are going to receive a stent while sleeping, there are some things you should know. The first thing is that the stent can cause you to experience pain in your stomach or organs. This pain could be intense and last for several days after the surgery. If this happens, call your doctor right away so they can treat it and figure out what caused it.

You also need to make sure that you’re not allergic to any of the materials in your stent, and if you are, your doctor will need to know about it before they put one in your body. If you have other medical problems such as high blood pressure or diabetes, or if you have any infection in your body, then there’s a chance that the stent could cause complications for those issues as well. Your doctor will consider all of these things when deciding whether or not they should put a stent in your body while you’re asleep.

What should I expect during sleep after a kidney stent removal?

If your stent is only needed for a limited time, your doctor will remove it from your ureters. This procedure, like the stent implantation, will necessitate a period of recovery that may be accompanied by symptoms and adverse effects that patients should be aware of.

Again, the removal of a stent may be followed by a period of frequent urination at night, causing sleep disruptions. Patients might expect some burning or discomfort when urinating for a few days after the surgery. Despite the discomfort, patients are recommended to consume plenty of water and other fluids to stimulate urine output, which will aid in cleansing the ureters and promoting full recovery.

You might see some blood in your pee as well. This is normal, but you should contact your doctor if it does not go away or worsens after a few days of rest. Some patients may fall asleep right away after having a stent removed, while others may be kept awake by discomfort or agony. Your doctor may advise you to continue taking drugs as you recover following stent removal, especially if you had sleep problems while the stent was in place.

Your doctor may offer further suggestions or guidelines for recovering from stent removal and getting a night of better sleep. Always follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure a smooth recovery and reduce the risk of post-stent problems, such as a urinary tract infection.

When should I call my doctor regarding my kidney stent?

While getting kidney stents may be quite agonizing and unpleasant to sleep with, kidney stents are typically quite safe and routine procedures. However, patients should be careful and look for any possible signs of infection or other issues that may require immediate medical attention. You should immediately call your doctor if you see any of the following symptoms while you have a kidney stent in place

  • Fever
  • A burning sensation while urination
  • Changes in the characteristics of your urine, including color or smell
  • Kidney pain or other abdomen pain
  • Chills
  • Chest pain
  • Other unexpected symptoms or side effects

Having a kidney stent placed is not always a pleasant or enjoyable experience, especially during the night time, but when you compare it to the pain or the possible kidney damage caused by a urethral blockage and the discomfort it might cause while you sleep, the procedure may seem like a walk in the park, anyhow you need it to preserve the health and normal functioning of your kidneys. If you are experiencing any pain due to urethral blockage, we recommend you talk to your doctor immediately.

Conclusion

Having a kidney stent is definitely not a walk in the park and can be quite a difficult period of your life. Yet, for your kidney to function normally and preserve its health, you would definitely need it if you’ve suffered from a urethral blockage or obstruction of any kind.

Sleeping with a stent can be quite challenging and difficult, but finding the right position to sleep in might help lessen the discomfort. If the discomfort caused by sleeping with a stent is keeping you awake, you should try talking to your doctor, as your healthcare provider might have a possible solution for your night-time discomfort.

Keep in mind that a good night of sleep is necessary when healing from a stent placement, as your body is in recovery mode while you sleep. Hence try exercising earlier in the day and limiting the amount of water you take later on, especially after dinner. You can also try sleeping on the side opposite your stent.

If your pain and discomfort continue to worsen as time progresses during your sleep, then notify your doctor immediately, as the pain can be caused by the wrong placement of the stunt. Our guide for how to sleep with a kidney stent covers all the aspects that may help you lessen the discomfort that is caused by a kidney stent, so go through it thoroughly, as it might be of some help in your difficult time.

Author

Nabeel Ahmad is the founder and editor-in-chief of Lone Mind. Apart from Lone Mind, he is a serial entrepreneur, and has founded multiple successful companies in different industries.

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