You might have recently gotten a kidney stent and find it quite uncomfortable ,probably wondering how to sleep with a kidney stent, Getting enough sleep after having a kidney stent inserted into you is a good way to help you heal well and faster. The kidney stent is inserted to help you but it can make doing normal activities stressful and difficult thereby causing discomfort. Finding a comfortable sleeping position is a problem that most people with kidney stent experience but this can be managed if you find measures to help you.
WHAT IS KIDNEY STENT
A kidney stent is a thin, hollow tube that is inserted into the ureter (the tube in the body that joins the kidney to the bladder) to make it easier for urine to pass from the kidney to the bladder. A thin string that is attached to the stent may also come out of your urethra, it will be used to pull out the stent when your body has no need for it.
The stent is usually 10 to 15 inches long and about ¼ inch in diameter (Cleveland Clinic). Their line goes through the entire urethra, from the kidney to the bladder. Kidney stent is inserted if there is any unexpected blockage like kidney stones in the urethra that can prevent you from passing urine. It is usually a temporary treatment till you are able to go through surgery procedures to remove the stones and make your urethra free again.
Kidney stent can also be inserted if you just had an urethra surgery as the procedure can make your urethra swell up after few days. The sweeping can block the passage and make passing out urine difficult.
HOW IS A KIDNEY STENT INSERTED
Inserting a kidney stent is liken to a surgical procedure , it requires that the patient be put in a sleeping position with an anesthesia. A cyst scope will be inserted to the bladder through the urethra. The cyst has a guiding wire that will be passed through the kidney to the bladder, the stent will be placed over this wire.
After the stent has taken the best position in the urethra, the wire is removed while the top and bottom part of the stent will be rolled into a pigtail, this is to prevent the stent from moving out of place or coming out of the body. The stent will stay in the body for as long as it addresses the problem. It stays for few weeks in some patients while in others, the duration may be longer.
The stent is used to treat blockage caused by:
- Blood clots in the urethra
- Kidney stones
- Narrowing of the urethra
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Buildup of scar tissue.
HOW TO SLEEP WITH A KIDNEY STENT
Sleep is very essential to help you heal mentally and physically. Due to the pain you feel which is associated with the surgery and stent inside your body, it may find it hard to sleep well and comfortably. Notwithstanding, you must get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep everyday. The following are some ways you can sleep with a kidney stent.
1. Alpha blockers: Alpha blockers like alfuzosin and Tamsulosin can be used to reduce the discomfort and pain caused by kidney stent. Pain is one issue most people face when they have ureteral stent; to help with the pain, these alpha blockers reduce how the muscles in the urethra contract and bring some form of relieve to the patient.
However, you should check with your doctor if alpha blockers are good for you considering the side effects you may experience like stuffy nose, dizziness and ejaculating into your bladder (in men).
2. Anticholinergic medications: Anticholinergic medications are used to reduce how frequent you urinate and the urgency as well. This can be frustrating especially if you are trying to get some sleep. Taking anticholinergic drugs can be helpful. You should know that these medications have side effects like dry mouth.
Also, a study by JAMA Internal Medicine in 2019 reported that anticholinergic medications can increase the chances of having dementia especially in people over the age of 65. Oh should first consult your doctor before taking any anticholinergic medication.
3. Over-the-counter pain relief drugs: Over-the-counter pain drugs can help with the pain of having a stent inside your body and help you sleep better. There are so many pain relieve like acetaminophen such as Tylenol and ibuprofen such as Advil or Motrin. Aspirin may have pain relieve and anti-inflammatory properties but it is also considered a natural blood thinner and can make you bleed more. Check with your doctor if you can take aspirin.
4. Reduce how you take water before sleeping: Drinking water is good because it can help flush out the blockage and urine through your kidney but it is not advised at night or before your bedtime as the excess water will make you pass out more urine and disrupt your sleep. You can take more water in the daytime to help your system flush out unwanted liquid but reduce the intake at night especially after your dinner.
5. Do not exercise few hours before bedtime: The first 24 hours after the procedure will require that you abstain from any physical activity including exercises but you can go back to your normal routine after the first day. You can do any exercises during the day and avoid them at night. Exercises and physical activities can cause pain and discomfort. The few hours before your bedtime need you to be relaxed and free from any exercise so as to sleep better.
6. Know the best sleeping position: Having a kidney stent means that you are likely not going to sleep in the same position as you used to. Even after you have taken the medications prescribed or reduced your water intake and physical activities, if you do not find the best position to sleep at, you may not be comfortable. The best position is to sleep on the opposite side of your stent, this posture can reduce how much pain you feel and make you comfortable enough to sleep.
OTHER SYMPTOMS YOU MAY NOTICE WHEN YOU HAVE KIDNEY STENT
Apart from sleep disturbances and disruption, there are other symptoms that you can experience. These symptoms are normal and can last for few days. The symptoms are:
- You pass out urine more frequently than you normally do
- There is always an urgent need to urinate often than usual
- Pain in your abdomen or pelvic
- Little drops of blood in your urine
- There is loss of control over your urine, you may find it difficult to hold back or contain your urine
- Pain while urinating
The pain you will feel should be mild and can be managed by prescribed medications or over-the-counter drugs. If the medications cannot manage the pain or the there is severity of pain, you may have to see a doctor. The pain can be because the stent is not in the right position.
WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE A DOCTOR
Kidney stent is a foreign object in your body so you may have to see your doctor anytime you feel something abnormal. Also, having a kidney stent in your urethra can increase your chances of having a urinary tract infection. There are some symptoms you will have and they may indicate another health issue, some of these symptoms are:
- Intense and severe pain in your pelvic region
- High fever with a body temperature of over 101.5°F (38.6°C)
- Clots in your urine of large amount of blood discharged while urinating
- Feeling of burning sensation while urinating
- Feeling that you are not well
- Much problem with containing urine.
HOW IS THE KIDNEY STENT REMOVED
A kidney stent can stay up to three months as long as it does the function for which it is inserted but staying longer than three months can lead to infection, blockage or even stones forming in the urethra. Removing the stent involves a cystoscopy (a procedure whereby a thin camera is used to view the bladder and urethra).
A sterilized lubricant that has anesthesia is inserted in the urethra before removing the stent, the anesthesia is to reduce discomfort although the whole process does not cause pain. The removal process does not take a long time, it may be just for 15 minutes.
Kidney stent is used to make urine passage from the kidney to the bladder easier and stress-free. It is mostly used when there is blockage or obstruction in the urethra or after a surgery procedure that involves the urethra. The length of time the stent stays in the body is determined by the doctor. Nevertheless, no matter how long it is staying, the most important thing is that the patient gets enough sleep in order to heal faster.
Good sleep may not be really easy because of the pain and discomfort. You can take prescribed medications, reduce how much water you take or stop physical activities before you sleep. The goal is that you get as much sleep as possible.