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How It Feels

If you are put to sleep with a general anesthetic, you won't feel anything during the test. After the anesthetic wears off, your muscles may feel tired and achy. The medicine gives some people an upset stomach.

If a local anesthetic is used, you may feel a burning sensation or an urge to urinate when the cystoscope tube is inserted and removed. When sterile water or saline is put in your bladder, you may feel a cool sensation, an uncomfortable fullness, and an urgent need to urinate. Try to relax during the test by taking slow, deep breaths. Also, if the test takes a long time, lying on the table can become tiring and uncomfortable.

If a spinal anesthetic is used, you may find it uncomfortable to lie curled up on your side while the anesthetic is injected. You will probably feel a brief sting when the medicine is injected. The day after the test, you may feel tired and have a slight backache.

Most people report that this test is not nearly as uncomfortable as they thought it would be.


Cystoscopy is generally a very safe test. General anesthesia has some risks. The test doesn't affect sexual function.

The most common side effect is a short-term swelling of the urethra. This can make it hard to urinate. A catheter inserted in your bladder can help drain the urine until the swelling goes away. Bleeding sometimes occurs, but it usually stops on its own.

You may have a mild infection in the urinary tract after the test. This can usually be prevented or treated by taking medicine before and after the test. In rare cases, the infection can spread through the body. And in very rare cases, usually with seriously ill people, the infection can be life-threatening.

Another rare complication is a puncture of the urethra or bladder by one of the tools. This puncture needs surgery to repair.

After the test

After the test, you may need to urinate often. You may have some burning during and after urination for a day or two. It may help to drink lots of fluids. This also helps prevent a urinary tract infection.

Slightly pink urine is common for several days after the test, especially if a biopsy was performed. But call your doctor right away if:

  • Your urine stays red or you see blood clots after you have urinated several times.
  • You have not been able to urinate 8 hours after the test.
  • You have a fever, chills, or severe pain in your flank or belly. These may be signs of a kidney infection.
  • You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These symptoms include:
    • Pain or burning when you urinate.
    • An urge to urinate often, but usually passing only small amounts of urine.
    • Dribbling or leaking urine.
    • Urine that is reddish or pinkish, smells bad, or is cloudy.
    • Pain or a heavy feeling in the lower belly.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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