Overview of Cystoscopy

A cystoscopy is a procedure that your physician may order to see the lining of the bladder and urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of your body. A cystoscope is a tube that has a lens. The lens is inserted into the urethra and goes towards the bladder.

The procedure can be done in the hospital, in a testing room, or as an outpatient procedure. The type of procedure that your physician orders will depend on the reason behind the procedure.

Why Is a Cystoscopy Done?

A cystoscopy is typically done to aid in diagnosing, monitoring, and treating conditions that affect the bladder and the urethra. The first reason that a cystoscopy is done may be to investigate the causes of any signs or symptoms that may be occurring. For example, if you are experiencing blood in the urine, overactive bladder, painful urination, or incontinence, then your physician may order this procedure for a closer look. If the cause may be a urinary tract infection, then your physician will ask that you wait until that is cleared up.

If your physician believes that you have a bladder disease or condition, then your physician will order this procedure to aid in diagnosing problems such as bladder cancer, bladder inflammation, or bladder stones. This can also be done to diagnose an enlarged prostate.

Special tools can be sent through the scope to treat bladder diseases and conditions. An example of this is a small bladder tumor being removed during this procedure.

Your physician may also do a second procedure during your cystoscopy called a ureteroscopy. This uses a small scope to look at the tubes that carry the urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

Symptoms of Adrenal Cancer

There are a variety of signs and symptoms that occur with adrenal cancer. One might notice weight gain, pink/purple stretch marks, and muscle weakness. Other symptoms may include: nausea, fever, back pain, vomiting, abdominal bloating, loss of appetite, or loss of weight without trying.

Some symptoms that are specific to the different genders are hormonal changes. These changes can include excess facial hair, hair loss on the head, or irregular periods. Hormonal changes that occur in men include enlarged breast tissue and shrinking testicles.

Risks of a Cystoscopy

There are very few risks that cystoscopy. In very rare cases, a cystoscopy can bring germs into the urinary tract, which will lead to infections. In an effort to prevent infections, your physician may recommend taking antibiotics before and after your procedure. You will be at a higher risk for an infection if you are older or if you are a smoker.

After the procedure, you may also notice blood in the urine. This is typically minimal and severe bleeding rarely occurs. You may also experience abdominal pain or a burning sensation when you urinate. These are typically mild.

Complications of a Cystoscopy

You will want to go see your physician or go to the emergency room if you experience any of the following:

  • Chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever above 101.4
  • Pain or burning in urination, if it lasts longer than two days
  • Inability to urinate
  • Bright red blood or heavy blood clots

There are many ways to relieve the discomfort you are experiencing. It may be useful to hold a warm and moist washcloth over the opening to the urethra. Repeat this process as often as needed. In some cases, you may want to lay in the warm bath. You will want to ask your physician if this is allowed. It is also recommended to drink plenty of water. This will help to flush out the bladder. It is recommended that you drink 16 ounces of water every hour for the first few hours after the procedure.

How to Prepare for a Cystoscopy

Your physician may recommend that you take antibiotics before and after your procedure. This will help you to fight off infections. You may also be ordered to wait to urinate until you arrive for the procedure. Do not urinate at home before you arrive. Ask your physician for any further instructions that they may have for you. It is important to follow all of these and also follow the instructions for after the procedure as well.

What to Expect at the Cystoscopy

This procedure is very short and simple. If you are doing a simple, outpatient surgery then it can last around five to fifteen minutes. If it is done in the hospital with sedation, then it typically lasts around thirty minutes. The day of your procedure will likely go as follows.

The first step is that you will be asked to empty the bladder. You will then lie on the table on your back. In some cases, you will then be administered a sedative or an anesthetic. A sedative will make you feel sleepy and relaxed; however, you will still be awake. If you receive an anesthetic, you will not be aware during the procedure. Both of these medications are given through a vein in your arm.

After these steps, a numbing jelly will be applied to the urethra to aid in preventing pain with the scope is being inserted. After the numbing has taken place, the physician will begin by pushing the cystoscope into the urethra with the smallest scope that is possible. If a tissue sample is needed, a larger scope and tools may be needed.

Once the lens has been inserted, then your physician will look into the urethra and bladder. The lens on the end of scope will allow your physician to see inside. The saline solution will then fill the bladder for an even better look inside. You may feel the need to urinate and you will be asked to once this is done. While the procedure is occurring, your physician may take various tissue samples.

You will likely be allowed to resume your normal routine after the procedure. If you have been given any medications, then you will want to stay in the office until these wear off.

Results of the Cystoscopy

In some cases, your physician will want to discuss the results immediately. In some cases, you may be asked to come back for a follow-up appointment. If a sample has been taken, then this will be sent to the lab and will be discussed later. If you have any questions, make a list of them and ask your physician. Be sure to keep a list of anything you experience for your follow up as well.