Results vs risksof the procedure

Cystoscopy is a very common procedure.


Cystoscopy is generally a very safe procedure and is an effective way of identifying and treating problems in the bladder.

Many people feel embarrassed at the thought of having a cystoscopy, but the urologist should be able to put you at ease. It’s also normal to feel a bit anxious, however, over 80% of people who’ve had a flexible cystoscopy said it wasn’t as bad as they’d expected, and 99% said they’d have it again if necessary.

Men’s anatomy can make rigid cystoscopy an uncomfortable experience. Men report more discomfort after rigid cystoscopy, whereas women appear to have similar amounts of discomfort with both types.


If you have a general anaesthetic this has some risks, particularly if you’re overweight, obese or have other health problems.

Your urine may be blood stained or pink for several days after the procedure. This is normal.

Temporary swelling of your urethra is a common side effect which can make it hard for you to urinate. Men who already have problems passing urine are more at risk. If this is a problem, your doctor may need to insert a catheter into your bladder to help drain urine until the swelling goes away.

Pain. You may experience abdominal pain and a burning sensation when urinating. These symptoms are generally mild and gradually decrease after the procedure.

Urinary tract infection. The risk of infection is low but your doctor may recommend taking an antibiotic before the procedure to further reduce the risk.

Bladder or urethra damage. The rigid cystoscope can damage or perforate your bladder wall. Sometimes the urethra is damaged and you may have temporary urinary incontinence.

Blood loss can occur at the biopsy site. Blood loss occasionally requires a blood transfusion.

A blood clot can cause urinary retention and abdominal pain.

Damage to the neck of your bladder. If the opening to your bladder is tight because of previous surgery, or because of an enlarged prostate, the instrument can damage the muscle.

A reduction in your sexual function and libido may occur but is usually temporary.

Choosing a specialist

How to find a urologist who specialises in your procedure.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.