If you have been recommended for a cystoscopy, you may be concerned about it being painful. The expert team of Urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta assure you of the best patient care to minimize any discomfort that you may feel.
Why Would a Urologist Order a Cystoscopy?
Your urologist may use a cystoscopy to diagnose, monitor, and treat urinary tract conditions affecting the bladder and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside world).
Your doctor might suggest a cystoscopy to:
- Investigate the causes of signs and symptoms. If you have blood in the urine, incontinence, overactive bladder, or painful urination, a cystoscopy will help explain why.
A cystoscopy can also help determine the cause of frequent urinary tract infections. It may also be used to determine why you have long-lasting pelvic pain.
- Diagnose bladder diseases and conditions. These may include bladder cancer, bladder stones, bladder inflammation (cystitis), and bladder control problems.
- Treat bladder diseases and conditions. The cystoscope can be fitted with special tools to treat certain conditions. For example, your doctor may remove very small bladder tumors during a cystoscopy.
- Diagnose an enlarged prostate. If your provider sees a narrowing of the urethra where it passes through the prostate gland, it would indicate an enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hyperplasia).
What Should I Expect When Undergoing This Test?
Before the Test
You might be asked to:
- Take antibiotics. If you have difficulties fighting infections, then your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
- Wait to empty your bladder. Your doctor might need you to give a urine sample.
- Prepare for sedation or anesthesia. If you require an intravenous (IV) sedative or general anesthetic during your cystoscopy, you’ll need to ask someone to drive you home.
During the Test
You can expect a simple outpatient cystoscopy to take 5 to 15 minutes. It can be done at a hospital, doctor’s office, or clinic.
When performed in a hospital with sedation or general anesthesia, cystoscopy takes about 15 to 30 minutes.
The following process is a typical cystoscopy procedure:
- You’ll first need to empty your bladder. The procedure is usually done whilst you lie on your back, your feet in stirrups, and your knees bent.
- If you need or choose a sedative or anesthetic. A sedative will make you relaxed, but you’ll still be aware. You won’t be aware during the procedure if you receive a general anesthetic.
- Your doctor will insert the cystoscope. Your doctor will apply a numbing jelly to your urethra. This will help prevent pain when the cystoscope is inserted.
The smallest scope possible will be used to minimize pain. At times, larger scopes might be needed to take tissue samples or pass surgical tools into the bladder.
- Your doctor will examine your urethra and bladder. The cystoscope works like a telescope. It allows the doctor to see the inner surfaces of your urethra and bladder. They might even mount a special video camera over the lens so the images can be seen on a video screen.
- Your bladder will be filled with a sterile solution. The solution inflates the bladder giving your doctor greater visibility. The solution may make you feel like urinating. You’ll need to do so once the procedure is finished.
- Tissue samples might be taken. If your doctor requires bladder tissue samples for lab testing, they will do so before removing the cystoscope.
What Happens After a Cystoscopy?
In most cases, you will be able to resume your daily routine. However, if you had sedation or general anesthesia, you may need to wait for their effects to wear off before being driven home.
After cystoscopy you may experience:
- Bleeding inside your urethra. This will appear bright pink in your urine or toilet paper
- A burning sensation during urination
- More frequent urination for the next 24-48 hours
To relieve some of the discomfort you can:
- Drink plenty of water to flush out any irritants from your bladder.
- Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Lay a warm, damp washcloth on the opening of your urethra to ease the pain. You can repeat as needed.
- Take a warm bath, unless your doctor advises you not to.
Does a Cystoscopy Hurt?
After the procedure, there is a chance you will experience abdominal pain and a burning sensation when you urinate. It’s generally a mild feeling and gradually subsides after the procedure.
Risks and Contraindications
Complications of cystoscopy can include:
- Bladder Infection. Although it doesn’t happen often, some germs may enter into your urinary tract during a cystoscopy, causing an infection.
You are more likely to develop a urinary tract infection if you have advanced age, are a smoker, or have unusual anatomy in your urinary tract.
- Bleeding. You may see some residual bleeding after a cystoscopy. It’s very unlikely that serious bleeding will occur.
You should call your doctor if you:
- feel sick in the stomach
- can’t keep fluids down
- still have red urine
- see blood clots after urinating several times
- can’t pass urine or a stool
- have swelling in the lower belly
At Urology of Greater Atlanta, you can count on state-of-the-art diagnostics and innovative treatments from our team of compassionate Board-Certified Urologists.
If you have any signs of blood in your urine or other urinary abnormalities, call the office or make an appointment online today for expert care. We have offices throughout Greater Atlanta, including Blue Ridge.