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Cystoscopy

How It Feels continued...

If a local anesthetic is used, you may feel a burning sensation or an urge to urinate when the instrument is inserted and removed. Also, when your bladder is irrigated with sterile water or saline, 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 is lengthy, 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 stinging sensation when the anesthetic is injected. You may feel tired and have a slight backache the day after the test.

Risks

Cystoscopy generally is a very safe test. If a general anesthetic is used, there are some risks of general anesthesia. There is no risk of loss of sexual function.

The most common side effect is a temporary swelling of the urethra, which may 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 cystoscopy. 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 circumstances, 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 instruments, which requires surgery to repair.

After the test

After the test, you may need to urinate frequently, with some burning during and after urination for a day or two. Drink lots of fluids to help minimize the burning and to prevent a urinary tract infection.

A pinkish tinge to the urine is common for several days after cystoscopy, particularly if a biopsy was performed. But call your doctor immediately if:

  • Your urine remains 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 upon urination.
    • An urge to urinate frequently, but usually passing only small quantities of urine.
    • Dribbling or leakage of urine.
    • Urine that is reddish or pinkish, foul-smelling, or cloudy.
    • Pain or a feeling of heaviness in the lower abdomen.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2012
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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