Ureteral Stent Placement: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

A ureteral (say "you-REE-ter-ul") stent is a thin, hollow tube that is placed in the ureter to help urine pass from the kidney into the bladder. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.

You may have a small amount of blood in your urine for 1 to 3 days after the procedure.

While the stent is in place, you may have to urinate more often, feel a sudden need to urinate, or feel like you cannot completely empty your bladder. You may feel some pain when you urinate or do strenuous activity. You also may notice a small amount of blood in your urine after strenuous activities. These side effects usually do not prevent people from doing their normal daily activities.

You may have a thin string coming out of your urethra. Your urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to outside your body. This string is attached to the stent. Try not to pull on the string. The doctor will use the string to pull out the stent when you no longer need it.

After the procedure, urine may flow better from your kidneys to your bladder. A ureteral stent may be left in place for several days or for as long as several months. Your doctor will take it out when you no longer need it.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, until your doctor says it is okay.
  • Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
  • Most people are able to return to work the day after the procedure. If your work requires intense activity, you may feel pain in your kidney area or get tired easily. If this happens, you may need to do less strenuous activities while the stent is in.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex.

Diet

  • You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
    • Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
  • You have severe belly pain.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Part or all of the stent comes out of your urethra.
  • You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
    • You have blood or pus in your urine.
    • You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
    • You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
    • It hurts to urinate.
    • You have groin or belly pain.
  • You cannot control when you urinate, or you leak urine.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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