Severe pain after stent removal: How often does it happen and can anything prevent it?

Can a single pill prevent post stent removal pain? (Image from

Many patients complain of some pain after having a ureteral stent is removed. This pain is usually mild and self-limited. However, the pain can sometimes be severe. Because patients may not have been warned about the possibility of significant pain beforehand, it can come as an unwelcome surprise, and patients may be left wondering whether something is wrong. Patients who are affected by this pain may describe it as being worse than their original stone pain. In some cases the pain can be bad enough to bring them back to the emergency room.

Up to now, there hasn’t been much research on this topic and it was not clear how often this phenomenon occurs or what might be done to prevent it. A recent publication in the journal BJU International now suggests that severe pain after stent removal may occur in as many as half (55%) of patients. In the study, performed by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center, patients having their indwelling ureteral stents removed were either given a placebo pill or a single 50mg dose of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) rofecoxib fifteen minutes before their stent removal procedure. Patients were asked to report their pain just before and 24 hours after their stent removal on a scale ranging from 1 to 10, with 7 or above being considered severe pain. Six of the eleven patients (55%) given placebo developed severe pain after their stent removal while none of the ten patients given rofecoxib developed severe pain.

The authors speculated that the mechanism by which the NSAID medicine may have provided such a dramatic reduction in severe pain occurrence might have been through reducing ureteral spasms or by decreasing pressure within the kidney. While the results of the study are very encouraging, further research will be needed to confirm the findings. For now though, the study is currently the only evidence we have on how often post stent removal severe pain occurs and what we might do to prevent it – take a single dose of a NSAID pain medication fifteen minutes before removing a stent.

Of note, the medication used in the study, rofecoxib (brand name Vioxx), was withdrawn from the US market in 2004 due to concerns about cardiovascular side effects and it is no longer available. The authors report in their paper that they now use a single 220mg dose of the NSAID naproxen with their patients. Naproxen is available over the counter (as a generic or under brand names such as Aleve) but you should check with your doctor about whether you should take it and make sure to read the warnings from the manufacturer as some patients with certain medical conditions shouldn’t take it.

While you might think that a single pill of naproxen can’t be very strong, other research actually supports its use for acute pain. In 15 randomized studies involving 1509 participants, naproxen was found to be effective for relieving moderate to severe pain in patients after surgery. Half of patients who were given a single dose of naproxen experienced at least half pain relief and the effects of the medicine lasted on average for up to nine hours. You can read more about naproxen for postoperative pain at the Cochrane Collaboration website.

REFERENCE: Tadros NN, Bland L, Legg E, Olyaei A, Conlin MJ. “A single dose of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) prevents severe pain after ureteric stent removal: a prospective, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. BJU International, 2012.


About Dr. Mike Nguyen

Mike M Nguyen, MD, MPH, is a urologist and an Associate Professor of Clinical Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in the treatment of kidney stones with both surgery and dietary prevention and the in the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer using the latest robotic surgical approaches. He sees patients at clinics located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and La Canada, CA. He is the founder of the website.
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358 Responses to Severe pain after stent removal: How often does it happen and can anything prevent it?

  1. jose santiago says:

    dams i went to the emergency room on june 7 with intensive stomach pain
    after a wille and 4 hrs later was placed on cats scan and they discovered that i have
    a large kydney stone bloking my urine flow so later they placed a stent to drain the kydney because it was swolent and had a hole on it causing and overflow of urines
    into my iner body causing an infection has the sten for 3 week to 4 week because my doctor wanted my kidney to health and closed the hole naturally before atemting to used ultrasounds to pulvericed the stone so after the ultrasound my doctor placed a stent to pass the stones particles ans left it in place for 5 week later i was schedule for stent removal but the cats scan show i had another small stone but my doctor say not to worry about it as it was too small to do any damage and probably will disolve with medicines or having herbal drinking for a wile now iam due to stent removal on 8/7/17 because i declined to have it removed in the doctor office due to my bein scared of pain i will be verry happy to have it removed because it a pain i the ass causing lots of pain walking or driving

  2. Becky says:

    I had emergency surgery two days ago in the middle of the night after sitting in the er for two days and two different hospitals. The doctors found a three cm stone in my ureter but because I am pregnant I would have to do the surgery awake with only a light spinal because they didn’t want the baby affected. So after a painful stressful three hour surgery I found out the doctor put in a catheter and a stent I’ve never had any surgery before but I’ve had my daughter at home with no medication so I know pain. After the surgery the doctor rushed to get me discharged so he removed the stent with no freezing (because it would hurt the baby) and then discharged me with no pain medication. I spoke to my family dr he got my medication that’s okay with the baby but now I’m laying here at home in the most pain I’ve ever been in this is worse than child birth and having the kidney stone. I don’t know what to do should I go back to the hospital?

  3. Brenda Lee Courtney says:

    I didn’t have a stone! I went to have a hysterectomy and during my surgery the Dr clamped my urethra so I had to have a stent put in while in surgery, this was the worst pain I have ever felt, the stent made me miserable, for two weeks I had this in me, finally the dr took it out after two weeks, it did not hurt removing it, but now I’m 5 weeks after having stent removed and my right kidney, the side the stent was in is still spazzing and hurting unbearable pain, why is there still pain? My dr don’t know and I’m back in the ER!!

    • R. Barnes says:

      Same. Please tell me what you have learned??

      • Jen says:

        Same here….the removal of the stent was a huge fear for me, however my bladder was full and I basically just expelled it when I was urinating..I felt no pain at all while removing but two hours later and later that night I have SEVERE FLANK PAIN as bad if not worse that what sent me to the ER a week ago…nothing I take makes it go away…..

  4. Rich says:

    I’m currently sitting next to my wife who has had both stents removed 2 days ago after getting a mass of kidney stones removed. She is a mother of 4 and had them at home so she knows what pain is. So when she looked at me and said she would rather go through labor than have this pain, I knew she was at her pain threshold. This was supposed to be a outpatient procedure but she was in so much pain they decided to keep her at the hospital. Now going on the third day she is still experiencing the same pain and nausea. She keeps describing it as a severe burning sensation from her abdomen to her back. I feel helpless. CT scan showed nothing. She is finally asleep…any advise from y’all that have experienced this pain would be greatly appreciated. I just don’t want her to experience this pain anymore.

    • Dian says:

      Bless you, you are a wonderful husband and your wife is so lucky to have you. I’ve gone thru this totally alone its been horrible! Prayers out to your wife for this to all be behind her soon. It soon will be.

  5. janice mikulkaja says:

    i had a stent put in because of a blockage then i had 1 and1/2 stones removed then the stent was removed now i have pressure an when i pee it is pink i am in pain an want to thow up i am a 84yr old female 90lbs i am so weak should i go to the erjanice mikulka

  6. vani says:

    female 45 old from India. I have done RIRS in my left for 1cm and 5mm kidney stones on 9 may 2017. after they put stent on my left side. i taken ct scan before stent removal. ct scan report show 4.2mm,2mm,3mm stones on my left kidney. stent removes on 5/6/2017. now my question is my kidney function is normal. but now no blood in my urine. and urine color is normal. and amount also. another question is Why is it painful?. please suggest me.

  7. mark says:

    This is not my first kidney stone. The last one was 20mm. Woke up at 1am in pain so bad I threw up. Finally at 3am I had my girlfriend drive me to the hospital. They did a cat scan and told me that the stone was blocking my ureter and that I had to have it removed immediately, but their hospital was not equipped for this procedure. They gave me some dillaudid and sent me on my way.

    I arrived at the hospital they recommended which was an hour away. I explained my situation and they admitted me after being interrogated as to why I was here and why I didn’t just got to a doctors office. After I was admitted they put in a room and put an IV in and started giving me more dillaudid. It was a wonderful evening.

    The next morning the doctor came in and explained that he was going to put a stent in and tie the large kidney stone to the top of it. I would have to have a procedure in a coupe of weeks where they would make a small incision in my back and then make a hole in my kidney about the size of a straw to get the stone out.

    I was to have the procedure at 1pm. The nurse came in and said that she forgot to give me my pain medication two hours ago and wondered if I wanted it now. I was in pain, but I said I don’t know as I’m going into surgery in a couple of hours. She said she would check with my doctor. An hour later she came back and said that she was glad that I mentioned it because the doctor said no did not give him the pain medication.

    Then this nurse proceeded to put an antiobiotic called Levaquin in my IV. Almost immediately my whole body turned red and I couldn’t breathe. I pushed the call button and told the dimwit that answered that I couldn’t breathe. Her reply was, “OK I’ll let someone know.” My girlfriend jumped up and clamped off the intravenous, which probably saved my life. About 5 minutes later a nurse wandered in and said whats the problem. She realized that i was having an anaphylactic reaction. They gave me benadryl, a shot of steroids and some breathing treatments. This helped after a couple of hours.

    Now my procedure was pushed back for another 7 hours. So I laid there in pain. The doctor said after the procedure that as soon as he put the stent in my kidney just gushed as it was full to capacity.

    Now I had to come back in three weeks. With the stent in I had to pee constantly. If I couldn’t get to a toilet quick enough there was sever pain.

    Finally back at the hospital, the third different hospital by the way. The doctor decided to just do an ESWL instead of cutting my kidney open. I was relieved about this. The procedure went fine and they believe they got all of the stone.

    Now I had to wait two more weeks and go get the stent out. They took the stent out in the doctors off. First they injected lidocaine in the tip of my penis. Then the doctor slid this tube, about the size of a McDonalds straw, with a camera on it into my penis then my prostate and then into my bladder. He said I would feel a little pressure. It was more like a lot of weird pain. He grabbed ahold to the stent and proceed to pull about 5 feet of junk out of my penis. I urinated all over the place when it came out. Was glad to have it out! I had to pee again immediately and couldn’t make it to the bathroom. I was forced to pee into a garbage can. Blood clots and small chunks of kidney stone came out.

    The doctor informed me that they couldn’t tell from the x-ray if they got all of the stone or not. Now I have to go back in a month for an ultrasound. I live in South Carolina and Florida and this all happened in Alabama. So there was a lot of 7 our drives to get to the doctors.

    Now that the stent is out I have mild pain every day. I still have the urgency to pee but without the pain. The doctor gave me an antibiotic to take, but it said that it could cause severe liver damage, nerve damage, kidney damage, breathing problems, death, uncontrollable diahrea which could be fatal and a whole bunch of other things. So I did not take the antibiotic.

  8. Himal says:

    I have a different problem.I had my ureter stone removed through URS.a dj stent was put but after two weeks of that I had fever.I went to the hospital again and the doctor said that the stent had to be removed.I was taken to the OT and they removed my stent without using anesthesia.I screamed bcoz of pain.they said I would see blood in the urine 2/3 times but there was blood clots and blood for more than 7 times of urination.there was fever as well.I came back home bcoz it was I feel that I have pain in my urinary tract starting from ureter to the middle of my penis.the doctor was inexperienced so I m getting afraid now.what futher test should I do?plz help me.

  9. KS says:

    Had an emergency stone removal then stent put in, pulled out stent and the pain began so bad! Vomiting, back pain and could hardly stand it! Doctor says it is swelling of the kidney and that it should go away in a week or so!! Really!! When the stent was removed lots of blatter spasms, and vomiting!

  10. Allan Ethier says:

    I had a kidney stone pulverized with a laser turning that stone into dust. During the operation they put in a Stent. 4 days later that Stent was pulled out at the same hospital. I now have a severe throbbing pain in my kidney as bad as if I still have the kidney stone. It hurts so bad that I couldn’t sleep. I’m calling an ambulance and going back to the hospital. Is it swelling? Is it blockage of the flow from the kidney? I don’t know. All I can say is the pain is worse than the day I ended up in the hospital with that kidney stone.

  11. Allan Ethier says:

    I had a kidney stone pulverized with a laser turning hat stone into dust. During the operation they put in a Stent. 4 days later that Stent was pulled out at the same hospital. I now have a severe throbbing pain in my kidney as bad as if I still have the kidney stone. It hurts so bad that I couldn’t sleep. I’m calling an ambulance and going back to the hospital. Is it swelling? Is it blockage of the flow from the kidney? I don’t know. All I can say is the pain is worse than the day I ended up in the hospital with that kidney stone.

  12. Jan Giles says:

    I had a kidney stone that was 17mm x11mm x5mm which was initially not seen as twice I went by ambulance from my Drs surgery having had ultrasounds which showed nothing. The CT showed clearly I had lithotripsy but the stone was too big so they left it in with a jj stent 4 weeks later they removed the stone and stent replacing with a self removal stent. They told me to take Panadol before removing and I added a half an oxycodenie waited and removed the stent with only slight discomfort. However an hour and half afterwards I was in severe pain vomiting and disorientated. We called the ambulance and I was given a lot of morphine which didn’t seem to help aadmitted to emergency where the pain was numbed by drugs I had a CT scan which showed nothing but mild hydronephrosis. I have to believe that maybe it wasn’t mild and as I had continued to have nearly clear urine although increased frequency that maybe the kidney was not draining as it should and was in fact backflushing after the stent removal. It would have been good to know that this could happen I was told nothing it would have helped as I live on a yacht it took a dinghy ride ambulance ferry and another ambulance to get me to hospital. If I had known I could have taken stronger pain meds after the removal

    • Jan says:

      Stayed overnight in Emergency and sent home next afternoon was still feeling very groggy but had to return last night couldn’t eat felt sick and this morning feeling nauseous trying to drink water and pee is clear but copious can’t believe I’m peeing so much it seems more than I’m drinking have lower groin discomfort but nothing major just wish nausea would go away

  13. Blair says:

    Yesterday, I had my stent removed after 17 days. The stent originally placed on 3/10 but ended up having another laser 10 days later. Today, 24 hours later after having stent removed, I feel funny. Bowls worked great this morning, urinating frequently, body aches around kidney. Lite headed but hoping this will pass. The stent was very very painful while in. Thought I would die. On pain pills but really didn’t help. Very glad that the stent is out. Wondering if others are going through the same feelings as I am on the second day of the stent removal? Returning to the doctor Thursday for an ultra sound of my kidney. Hoping for the best. Not a pleasant time.

  14. Wendy says:

    I took out my stent myself. After I got really nauseous And threw up. Now everytime I stand up I get light headed and nauseous. Is that normal?

  15. RAMESH says:


    This is Ra mesh. Last month 9th Jan, morning 6.30am i had severe back side pain. i think this is back pain. but the pain was becoming very severe. after one and half hour i went doctor. he suggested to take ultra sound scan… in that nothing was observed. Then doctor suggested to go kidney specialist. I went to that doctor.. he suggested Abdomen CT Scan.. in that it was observed 7 mm of stone in the ureter. Due to the obstructing the urine passage my left kidney was little swelling observed and that is the reason for the severe pain.

    In the next day morning doctor removed the stone and DJ stent placed in the left ureter. From that day i was happy… but after one month 13th Feb doctor removed the stent but the pain was very severe while taking out the stent. After one hour i went to my home. But up-to one day blood was observed in my urine and little bit pain also.
    As per doctor this is common…

    So friends please drink more water.. at least 3 to 4 liters of water to avoid this kind of pain…

  16. Doyle says:

    I had my Rt sided stent put in on Nov. 06, 2016 and it was just removed on Feb. 03, 2017, the removal itself was minimal in pain but within less than 2 hours I my right kidney was hurting me so badly I did not know if I should go back to the ER or not. It is not the morning of day 3 and I am still having pain but I am scared of having another stent put in so I have avoided returning to the ER for that reason. I am also having problems with constipation since the stent was removed not sure why what would happening but it is I am very confused as to what I should do

  17. killian says:

    Wow! Love that this site is here. Yes, us kidney stoners….we know what real pain is.

    I have a 7mm stone that I’ve had for 9 months. I passed a 2mm stone on my own. a couple months ago I went into septic shock and raced to the ER with a 105 fever. The doctors said I was hours away from death. That night I went into surgery and they drained my kidney and put a stent in my ureter.

    The healthcare system is so jacked. It took me another month to see a doctor to get pain medicine. Having the stent was literally hell. And the only relief that I found was oxycodone every 4-6 hours.

    Flash forward another month and I am back in the ER with sepsis again.
    Finally I get scheduled for lasertripsy….. but it wasn’t for another few weeks!

    Two and a half months of antibiotics, a lot of pain meds, two scares of septic shock, a stent, Not being able to walk, and so so so much pain….and here I am almost through it. In two days I get surgery and I supposedly get my stent removed.
    God, I am praying that they take this stent out.
    I will try to get back on here and update.

    What helped me was:
    Opiates + Advil every 6 hours. Heating pad or warm water bottle. Warm baths. Not walking. Azo and sometimes midol. Sitting on the toilet. Anti spasm medicine will help also although I didn’t get any.

    These stones are serious and I almost lost my life.
    Drink water and stay healthy and don’t take these things lightly.
    God bless. xoxo

  18. Janet says:

    Had a 15 mm kidney stoney stone , blocked out put, swollen kidney,etc. To make this short. 10 inch stent placed just above stone. Had stent 10 days. Stent caused more pain then the kidney stones. Even after removal, I am unable to sit or lay down with out pain level at around an 7. Also, only dust partials passed with stent. After removal, in 24 hours, have passed at least 75 or more the size of a period.. and some much larger. I hope I will not need another, as I will fight it.

  19. Valerie says:

    I had my kidney stent removed 3weeks ago as I could hardly walk with the stabbing pain in my bladder,it felt as if my insides were falling out and I got no relief from urinating,it was in for two months even though the surgeon wanted to leave it in for 6 months,the reason was not stones it was to try to stretch the outlet of the kidney which had blocked due to scar tissue from an old operation I had years ago.I was so delighted when he took it out and presumed all pain and discomfort would go,even though he had told me I would loose the kidney if the stent stretching did not work.But the pain since the removal (in the bladder) has got nearly intolerable,I feel as if I am permanently damaged and find it hard even to stand up straight.Has anyone else had symptoms like this with a removal? and it is not an infection as I have been given 6 lots of antibiotics in the time the stent was in and I refuse to have any more. I have to wait 6 weeks before I go back for another CT scan to see if the kidney has swollen up again.

    • Farrah Mcbroom says:

      I thought i was reading my 13 year old son story. He is in so much pain. He had his stent removed on the 8th and is hurting more now than ever. Is your doctor saying that normal?

    • Marie Myerscough says:

      My husband has a stent, he has it removed next week. He is experiencing the same stabbing pain to the bladder you describe. Just wondering if this has persisted or if you found any effective treatment. He had an initial stent inserted in Jan 17 which was removed two weeks ago following lazer treatment to kidney stones and another stent inserted. The two stents have now been continual since January this year and are driving him mad.

  20. Gil says:

    Had my stent removed today, in the doctor’s office, after one week. I had the rezum procedure last Friday. The removal went well, very little pain. Urinated right after removal with no pain or complications. After 8 hrs, still no pain or problems. Saw everything being done on a screen next to me with the doctor using a camera on the scope.

  21. Amy says:

    I had PCNL surgery Nov 1st to remove a 3 cm staghorn calculus. I got my double J stent removed Nov 30th. I took 800 mg of Motrin 15-30 minutes before removal, I had no pain at all afterwards. I questioned my urologist about these pains, he said their very common and are bladder spasms, and taking the Motrin pre-removal was a good idea. The actual removal itself and the thought of being in pain afterwards had me quite anxious, but I took .25 of Xanax at the same time as the Motrin pre-removal and I was fine. The removal was a little pressure and then it was out very quickly. I had had a stent once before, for 10 days, in 2009 and I remember it being worse for removal. I had no pain after removal that time either. This time after removal I just had a little blood in my urine, which is common. It was all gone by the next morning. I was just relieved to have the stent out, I couldn’t take the frequency and urgency any longer! Anyways, the Motrin greatly helped me, so maybe it is what helps to avoid the pain after removal.

    • Vickie says:

      I just removed my stent after 5 days. First I took 1-1/2 Tylenol 3 & did not empty my bladder. After 20 min. I soaked in a warm tub for 10-12 min. to relax. then got up turned on the shower. Two min. later I pulled the string down and had to urinate at the same time, which I feel probably helped not to feel any pain or discomfort whatsoever. It was a breeze and total liberating! Reminded me of the first time I used a tampon so many years ago… Really the stent is not long at all – maybe 12″. The string is approx. 4″. I’m happy to have read everyone’s posts to know what to do, as the Doctors have no time to explain to their patients.

  22. VJ says:

    Had 10mm kidney stone sitting on right kidney. Told to big to pass on its own. First stent placed 3.5 weeks ago and removed 2 weeks later. Discomfort, blood in urine and pee pressure during entire 2 weeks but, pain manageable. Original stent and stone removed then new stent place for 3 days. Dr. said it helps to settle things down. 2nd stent removed in office with mild pain. Immediate relief from pee pressure. Before I got home in worse pain than with stone. Went to ER and stayed most of the night. Meds given. After that, continual pain, nausea/throwing up for next week. Had to take pain meds throughout day, every day. After week Dr. did another CT scan told me the ureter tube was swollen so given Flomax. I am female and this is generally given only to males but some medical info on using it to treat woman with kidney stones. In last 1.5 wks, have only had to take pain meds once. Still have discomfort and some pain but not as much as before. Not sure about taking this med much longer but it has helped. Based on what I have read, may try Aleve if this continues

  23. pain says:

    I had a stone of 10mm in my left ureter.Doctor suggested me for DJ stent.Stone passed with blood after putting DJ stent.Then DJ stent is removed after 4 weeks just after when the stone passed.The pain i had experienced during its removal was so bad that i even don’t want to remember it.But now also i am suffering from back pain just like when i had a stone.only one month ago my DJ stent was removed.Did I expect another stone?

  24. Kidney Stone says:

    Removed the stent last night after being inside of me for 10 days, this morning wake up with swollen penis and tip of hole…scary looking and painful. Swollen is really bad right under the head gulf ball size!!! I called the dr, he said just to give it couple of days!!! This isn’t right!!! Doesn’t feel normal!!!! I don’t know what to do :(

  25. Irene says:

    Today I had my stent removed after being in place for 7 weeks. The removal went quickly and fairly easy with some discomfort. However The pain I have experienced since was worse than anything I experienced with a 20 cm kidney stone. It seems to have passed but it started out being extremely cold, then very hot with sweat rolling down my face, stomach cramps and feeling of nausea. Standing and walking seemed to help. The Dr did not indicate this might happen, fortunately I still pain medication from the initial surgery

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