Cystoscopy is a test performed with a thin, lighted tube that lets your doctor see inside your bladder and urethra.

It’s usually done in an outpatient setting with local anesthesia and only lasts about five to 10 minutes. Your doctor will insert a flexible tube (cystoscope) through your urethra (the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body) and into the bladder. Then your bladder will be filled with water or saline, stretching the lining so your doctor has a clear view. During the procedure, you may feel an uncomfortable fullness in your bladder or have the urge to urinate.

Your doctor may recommend a cystoscopy if you’re having issues with:

  • Blood in your urine
  • Painful urination
  • Incontinence
  • Frequent urinary tract infections

Cystoscopy can also be used for taking tissue samples for testing, removing a small bladder stone or inserting a stent to help urine move from the kidneys to the bladder.

Sometimes, a cystoscopy can cause short-term swelling of the urethra, so you may experience soreness or have trouble urinating. Your doctor may also recommend taking medication before and after the procedure to prevent a urinary tract infection.

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