A ureteric stent is a sterile plastic tube which is designed to drain urine from the kidney into the bladder. Adult stents are between 24 and 30cm long and are coiled at each end. The tube is designed to stay in place during usual body movement. The ureteric stent is shaped to allow one end to remain in the kidney and the other end in the bladder.
How is the stent inserted?
Ureteric stents are inserted under a general anaesthetic. The stent is inserted into the opening of the ureter where it connects with the bladder.
Many patients do not experience problems when they have a stent in place. Occasionally patients may experience urinary frequency from the stent irritating the lining of the bladder this may make you feel like you need to pass urine more often. You may see some light blood staining in your urine due to the irritation caused by the stent in the bladder. Drinking 23 litres of fluid a day will help to clear any bleeding from your urine. Stents can cause pain due to mechanical irritation. If you experience discomfort or pain it is likely to be in the kidney (loin) area but pain can also be experienced in the genitals, groin and urethra. Pain may be more noticeable after exercise and urination. Pain relief such as paracetamol can help. Inserting a stent is done under sterile conditions however one of the risks is developing an infection in the urine. Symptoms including fever, chills, cloudy or smelly urine, burning and stinging when urinating may indicate you have an infection. If you suspect you may have an infection you should contact Dr Meyer for advice and treatment.
Resumption of Normal Activities
You can continue to exercise whilst you have the stent in place. You may experience pain and discomfort in the kidney area and see blood in your urine. This may happen after strenuous exercise due to irritation caused by the stent.
You can continue to work normally. If your job involves a large amount of physical activity this may cause increased side effects. With the stent in place you can also feel more tired than normal. If you are concerned you should discuss this with your employer.
You can travel whilst your stent is in place if your general health and kidney condition allow. You should be aware that you may require additional medical help if you experience problems with the stent. If you have taken out holiday insurance, check to see whether having a stent would affect your policy and any subsequent claims.
There are no restrictions to your sex life but you may experience some discomfort during sexual activities.
How long can the stent stay in place?
This will depend on the reason it was inserted and the type of treatment plan Dr Meyer has discussed with you. Dr Meyer will inform you of how long the stent will have to remain in place. Stents can usually remain in place for up to 3 months, although some stents can be left for up to 1 year.
How is the stent removed?
The stent is removed by having a small procedure called a "Flexible Cystoscopy" under a local anaesthetic. You may experience some discomfort and see blood in the urine following the procedure. Simple pain relief such as Paracetamol will help the discomfort. You are encouraged to increase your fluid intake to clear any blood in your urine and help prevent a urine infection.