Kidney Stent Side Effects
Kidney stent side effects are usually mild but can, in some cases, be severe. In the majority of patients, kidney stents are required for only a short period of time. This could typically range from a few weeks to a few months.
When the underlying problem is not a kidney stone, the stent can stay in for several months. While side effects are usually mild, a stent can sometimes be very uncomfortable.
Some Kidney Stent Side Effects
Some typical side effects of kidney stent include the following:
An increased frequency of passing urine;
The need to rush to pass urine (urgency);
A small amount of blood in the urine. This is quite common and the situation can improve with greater fluid intake.
Stents can also result in a sensation of incomplete emptying of the bladder.
Very occasionally, especially in women, there is a slight risk of urinary incontinence episodes.
Patients with a stent in place will be aware of its presence most of the time.
Discomfort or pain, commonly in the bladder and kidney (loin) area. Sometimes this can affect other areas such as the groin, urethra and genitals. The discomfort or pain may be more noticeable after physical activities and after passing urine.
A patient may experience one or some of these symptoms, especially soon after the ureteric stent is inserted. There is a tendency, however, for some of these symptoms, such as pain while passing urine and blood in the urine, to improve with time.
Kidney Stent and urinary tract infection
The presence of a stent, along with the underlying kidney problem, makes it more likely that a urinary tract infection can develop. If a patient develops urinary tract infection, some of the symptoms may include raised body temperature, increased pain or discomfort in the kidney or bladder area, a burning sensation while passing urine and feeling unwell. This usually requires treatment with antibiotics.
How does a kidney stent affect daily activities?
A patient with a stent can perform most activities with little or no problems. There are some situations, however, where having a stent can affect daily activities. Let us look at some of the activities that can be affected by a stent inserted in the urinary tract.
Physical activities and sports - Provided the underlying kidney condition and your health allows it, most patients can carry on with various physical activities while the stent is in place. However, some discomfort may be experienced in the kidney area and passing of blood in the urine, especially if sports and strenuous physical activities are involved. Sometimes side effects associated with a stent can make you feel more tired than normal. It is advisable to moderate physical activities while the stent is in place.
Work activities - Depending on the nature of work, it is possible to continue to work normally with an inserted stent. However, work that involves strenuous physical activities may have to be limited, since it can cause some discomfort. Occasionally side effects, such as urinary symptoms and pain associated with the stent, may cause a patient to feel tired. If the stent causes significant problems, it may be advisable for a patient discuss their situation with their manager and colleagues, so that possible temporary adjustments can be made to the patient's work schedule.
Social life and interactions - The presence of a kidney stent should not significantly affect your social life. Symptoms such as, increased frequency and urgency of urination, may require that a patient use public toilets more frequently, while taking part in outdoor activities. Occasionally, a little extra help may be needed from family members or colleagues, because of any pain or tiredness experienced.
Sex - Few patients experience discomfort during sexual activities. Occasionally the side effects associated with the stent may reduce sexual desire. If a patient has a ureteric stent with a thread coming outside the body through the urethra, sexual activities may be difficult. Care will also be required so as not to dislodge the thread, which could in turn displace the stent.
Thankfully, most patients only have to put up with these inconveniences for a short period of time. Once the underlying condition is resolved and the ureter is sufficiently healed, the stent can be removed and life returns to full normalcy.
It is essential for patients with a ureteric stent to drink at least 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids (mainly water) every day. This will help to minimize the risk of infection and will reduce the amount of blood in the urine. It will also help with the treatment of kidney stones.
Any patient with a stent who experiences bothersome pain can take painkillers for relief, on the advice of a doctor. If the stent has a thread coming down from the urethra and extends outside the body, then extra care should be taken, to avoid dislodging the thread.
If you have a kidney stent or are about to have one inserted, you should talk to your doctor about all the implications, including side effects and restriction of any activities. Check with your doctor, immediately, if you experience any severe symptoms or if the stent gets dislodged or falls out.