FAQs

Possible common potential side-effects:

  • Urethral discomfort – you may feel a stinging sensation when you urinate, but this should only last a day or two. If the pain is severe and lasts for more than two days, please contact us or your GP.
  • Blood in the urine – you may have a small amount of bleeding from the cystoscope being passed up the urethra. Some patients do not have any bleeding at all, but some find their urine is slightly pink for a few days after this procedure. Drinking plenty of water (two to three litres spaced out over 24 hours) can help to clear the urine. If your urine remains pink after a few days, please contact us or your GP.
  • Infection – a urine infection can cause a fever and pain when you pass urine. The risk of this can be reduced by drinking plenty of water after the procedure.

Rare potential side effects:

  • Temporary insertion of a catheter – this may be required if you are unable to pass urine normally following the procedure.
  • Delayed bleeding requiring further surgery.
  • Injury to urethra causing delayed scar formation – this may require additional surgery in the future to
    widen the urethra.

A cystoscopy is the only way to have a close enough look at your urinary system to diagnose certain bladder conditions. If there are any alternatives, your doctor will discuss them with you.

Some urinary symptoms – such as those outlined below – are due to problems in the bladder or urethra. Sometimes the cause of your symptoms will be clear from X-rays or tests of your blood or urine, but often the only way your doctor can be sure what is going on is to look inside your bladder. A cystoscopy can help to diagnose the causes of symptoms such as:

  • Blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating (passing urine)
  • Frequency in passing urine (going more often day and night)
  • Slow urinary stream
  • Incontinence of urine (inability to control when you urinate).

A cystoscopy is a procedure that looks at the bladder and other parts of the urinary system. It involves inserting a special tube, called a cystoscope, into the urethra and then passing it through to the bladder. There are two types of cystoscope: rigid and flexible.

Your examination will use a flexible cystoscope, which is a fibre-optic tube that can move around bends in the urinary system. It is about the thickness of a pencil and has a tiny video camera on one end, so the doctor can view an image of your urinary system on a screen.

Flexible cystoscopes are generally used to help make a diagnosis or to see if a treatment has been successful.