How to Sleep With a Kidney Stent: Helpful Tips and Sleeping Positions

how to sleep with a kidney stent


When a kidney stone or other obstruction occurs, a doctor may place a kidney stent, also known as a ureteral stent, to maintain urine flow from the kidney to the bladder. However, many people find kidney stents uncomfortable, especially when trying to sleep. In this article, we will explore various tips and techniques to improve sleep quality with a kidney stent. We will also discuss the best sleeping positions, potential restrictions, symptoms, and when to seek medical attention.

Tips for Better Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in the recovery process after a ureteral stent placement. It is essential to prioritize comfort to facilitate healing and regain energy. Here are some methods to improve sleep quality with a kidney stent:

1. Ask Your Doctor about Alpha-Blockers

Alpha-blockers such as tamsulosin and alfuzosin can help reduce ureteral stent pain. These medications work by reducing spasms in the ureters, which can cause cramping and discomfort. Consult your doctor to determine if alpha-blockers are a suitable option for you.

2. Consider Anticholinergic Medications

Anticholinergic medications, like solifenacin, are an alternative to alpha-blockers. They can help alleviate post-stent placement symptoms such as urinary frequency or urgency. However, be aware of potential side effects and discuss them with your doctor, especially if you are over 65 years old.

3. Utilize Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers

Taking over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) before bedtime can help reduce stent-related discomfort while you sleep. Ibuprofen, in particular, may be more effective due to its combined pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Always consult your doctor before taking any medication to ensure it is safe for you.

4. Manage Fluid Intake

Proper hydration is important after a stent placement. However, drinking excessive amounts of water close to bedtime can lead to frequent nighttime bathroom visits. To minimize this issue, drink plenty of water during the day and gradually reduce intake after dinner. This can help reduce urinary frequency and urgency during sleep. Aim to maintain a pale yellow urine color as an indicator of hydration.

5. Avoid Exercise Before Bed

Physical activity and exercise can increase discomfort caused by the stent. Avoid engaging in strenuous activities close to bedtime to minimize any potential discomfort. It is still beneficial to remain physically active, but try to schedule activities earlier in the day.

Best Sleeping Positions

While there is no established single best sleeping position for reducing stent-related discomfort, some people report feeling more comfortable sleeping on the side opposite to where the stent is placed. However, scientific research does not fully support this claim. To find the most comfortable sleeping position for yourself, you may need to experiment with different positions and determine what works best for you.

Potential Restrictions

In most cases, there are no significant restrictions following urinary stent placement. You can typically perform regular activities, including work and sexual activity, as long as they do not cause excessive discomfort. However, if your stent has an extraction string, it is crucial to avoid sexual activity to prevent dislodging the stent. Stents with strings have a slightly higher risk of dislodgment. Ensure the string is easily accessible when you sleep, and follow your doctor’s instructions regarding its placement and removal.

Common Symptoms

Stent-related irritation can cause various symptoms, including visible blood in urine, flank or pelvic pain, incontinence, pain during urination, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency. These symptoms should gradually subside within a few days as your body adjusts to the presence of the stent. However, if you experience severe pain that is not adequately managed by over-the-counter or prescribed pain medications, it is important to contact your doctor. Uncontrolled pain may indicate that the stent is not in the correct position.

When to Seek Medical Attention

The presence of a urinary stent increases the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). If you experience significant amounts of blood or blood clots in urine, a burning sensation when urinating, a temperature greater than 101.5°F (38.6°C), malaise, worsening pain in the flank or pelvis, or difficulties in fully emptying your bladder, contact your doctor immediately. These symptoms may indicate a UTI or a potential issue with the stent’s placement.


Sleeping with a kidney stent can be challenging due to discomfort and potential symptoms. However, there are various strategies to enhance sleep quality during the recovery period. By consulting your doctor about suitable medications, managing fluid intake, adopting proper sleeping positions, and being aware of potential restrictions and symptoms, you can improve your comfort and facilitate the healing process. Remember to seek medical attention if you experience severe pain or symptoms indicative of a UTI. Prioritize your well-being and rest, as sleep plays a vital role in your recovery.