Most people give very little thought to urological health. Urinating is a natural mechanical function of the body that we do from the time we are born. Rarely do abnormalities occur and, when they do, they are usually temporary. If you are experiencing abnormal urological symptoms, you can benefit from seeing a urologist. Sometimes this specialist will recommend certain tests, such as a urinalysis or a cystoscopy, which we will discuss here.
Why Would I Need a Cystoscopy?
A urologist may want to do a cystoscopy to evaluate the lower urinary tract. This is often necessary when there is blood in the urine, recurrent infections, or incontinence. Cystoscopy is also performed periodically on patients with a history of bladder tumors.
This diagnostic procedure may be performed in the office or an outpatient surgery center. It can be done with general anesthesia or local anesthesia during which the patient is awake. A cystoscopy involves placing a small tube with a camera on the end through the urethra. A flexible scope is usually used for optimal observation and comfort.
Generally, a cystoscopy takes only about five minutes. Before the screening, a lidocaine gel may be applied to numb the tissues. Mild discomfort may occur when the scope enters the bladder. This is temporary. Once the bladder has been reached and is instilled with water, there may be a sensation of fullness.
What Happens After a Cystoscopy?
The cystoscopy test is performed by the urologist, so results are immediately available. After completing the screening, your urologist will be able to inform you of their findings. However, there are instances in which further testing is required. This may need to be done in a hospital. If you need a more in-depth evaluation, your urologist will discuss why. Sometimes, patients are simply re-evaluated periodically after their cystoscopy.
Following a cystoscopy, the first time or first few times you urinate may be slightly uncomfortable. Drinking a lot of water helps increase urination and flush the bladder. This may quicken the instance of discomfort. The urine may also be blood-tinged for a short time.