Ureteric stent insertion
The ureter is a narrow tube that can easily become obstructed by things such as: kidney stones, blood clots, tumours and swelling following ureteroscopy. When the ureter is blocked urine fills up the kidney, the pressure in the kidney rises causing dilatation and pain. If left blocked pain may continue and in the long term the kidney may be damaged.
A ureteric stent is a plastic tube that helps drain urine from the kidney in to the bladder. It is usually inserted under a general anaesthetic using a cystoscope. Below is picture of a ureteric stent and shows its position once inserted.
Most people with ureteric stents experience discomfort in the bladder and/or flank region. The common symptoms related to ureteric stent insertion include:
- Bladder pain
- Urinary frequency (passing urine often)
- Urinary urge (needing to pass urine in a hurry)
- Blood in the urine
- Pain in the flank especially when urinating
The degree of this discomfort is highly variable; the majority of people experience discomfort but can continue normal activities, others may not notice it at all while a small percentage of people experience very bothersome symptoms. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict who will get bothersome symptoms and who will not.
It is normal to experience the above symptoms. The following may assist in alleviating discomfort:
- Taking pain relievers such as paracetamol and/or ibuprofen
- Taking Ural sachets (available from any pharmacy)
- Keeping well hydrated if blood is in the urine
- Relaxing as much as possible when urinating, men may find it better to sit
- Having the stent removed in the shortest time possible (usually one week in the case of ureteroscopy and stone extraction)