A double J stent is a tube that is used to help a patient urinate when he is suffering from kidney stones or a blockage in the ureter. This type of stent gets its name from the twisted ends of the tube, which look similar to a "J". These twists in the ends of the stent keep it from slipping out of place.
A simple surgery is used to place this stent in the patient's ureter. The doctor often uses only a local anesthetic, which makes it possible for the patient to recover quickly after the procedure is finished. The stent is fed into the patient’s urinary tract and pulled out again in a similar fashion once there is no need for it. It is possible for a doctor to remove the stent or for a patient to perform the removal at home.
The most common use for a double J stent is to allow the ureter to dilate properly when a patient has kidney stones. The stones, when exiting the kidneys, can become lodged in the ureter, causing pain, discomfort, and partial blockage of the urinary tract. The stent can also be used to allow urine to pass through the ureter following surgery to remove a tumor from the ureter or surgery which repaired scarring in the ureter.
Most patients with a double J stent report some mild symptoms. It can irritate the lining of the urinary tract, especially in the bladder, and can cause some mild bleeding. Many patients report a sensation of pulling in the back towards the end of urination. Though rare, severe pain is experienced by some patients if the stent presses up against a nerve.
After three months, the stent needs to be removed, regardless of whether the patient still requires the device. After three months, the risk for developing infection increases, and a new stent needs to be inserted. A doctor will insert a new stent at the same time that the old one is removed.
The pain and discomfort caused by a double J stent can be treated with over-the-counter medications and warm compresses. If pain is severe, the patient should contact a doctor for advice. It is also possible for a patient to experience an increased need to urinate. A prescription medication can be used to relieve these symptoms.