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What is Cystoscopy and Why Might I Need One?

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What is Cystoscopy and Why Might I Need One

Experiencing symptoms in the urological system, such as painful urination, can be alarming in and of itself. In light of symptoms, it is vital to obtain a thorough health examination. In addition to performing a comprehensive health history, a urologist may also suggest certain tests to better understand the nature of the current physical condition. Cystoscopy is one such test.

Cystoscopy is a diagnostic test performed with a small instrument called a cystoscope. The “scope” aspect of this instrument is a tiny camera that, when inserted into the bladder and urethra, provides direct observation of parts of the urinary tract that are otherwise difficult to view, even with X-ray imaging. One of the benefits of cystoscopy is that surgical instruments can be inserted through the cystoscope to address issues such as bladder stones or growths.

Why Cystoscopy is Performed

A cystoscopy procedure may be recommended for a number of reasons, including:

  • To explore the reasons for symptoms such as painful urination, blood in the urine, urinary incontinence, or a sudden, overwhelming urge to urinate.
  • To examine the urinary tract for indications of blockage, such as growths, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate.
  • Surgical cystoscopy aids in the implantation of stents or catheters for improving urine flow.

How Cystoscopy is Performed

Cystoscopies are typically performed on an outpatient basis. Some procedures may be performed in the office using a local anesthetic or spinal nerve block. Some are performed in a surgical center or hospital using general anesthesia. Upon insertion of the cystoscope, fluid is passed through the tube to inflate the bladder. This enables the clearest observation of all tissue. For observation purposes, a cystoscopy typically does not last more than 10 minutes. Patients report the procedure as much more comfortable than they had anticipated.

There are few side effects associated with cystoscopy. Some patients may develop a urinary tract infection. To minimize this risk, medication may be prescribed before the procedure to decrease bacterial activity. Medication will continue to be taken for a number of days after the cystoscopy to ensure bacterial overgrowth does not occur. In some cases, symptoms like urinary frequency and a burning sensation upon urination can occur without infection. These side effects typically subside within one to two days. To manage post-treatment side effects, patients are advised to drink plenty of water.

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