Surgical Procedures

What Is a Cystoscopy and Why Would I Need One?

Oct 22, 2023
Share this post
What Is a Cystoscopy and Why Would I Need One?

If you have blood in your urine, an overactive bladder, or painful urination, a cystoscopy can help the team at Gulf Coast Urology understand what’s going on in your bladder. A cystoscopy is also used to monitor certain conditions or provide a diagnosis of certain conditions.

Your doctor may order this procedure when they suspect something irregular in your bladder or your urethra, the tube that carries urine out of your body. Here’s why you might need a cystoscopy and what’s involved in the procedure.

The basics of a cystoscopy

A cystoscopy allows one of our doctors to thoroughly examine the lining of your bladder and your urethra. It involves a small camera that’s attached to a tube. Your doctor inserts the tube into your urethra and gradually advances it toward your bladder.

Depending on the reason for your cystoscopy, you may undergo a:

Rigid cystoscopy

This type of cystoscopy uses a tube that doesn’t bend. It’s useful when your doctor needs to pass instruments through the scope to take a biopsy or perform a treatment.

Flexible cystoscopy

During a flexible cystoscopy, your doctor passes a bendable tube through your urethra to diagnose certain conditions.

Both types of cystoscopy are performed on an outpatient basis. We may use a local anesthetic to numb your urethra or place you under twilight sedation so you don’t feel anything during the examination.

Afterward, you go home to recuperate. If you had a local anesthetic only, you can go on with your day following a cystoscopy. But if you had sedation, you need to arrange to have a driver take you home so you can lay low for most of the rest of the day.

Following the procedure, you may have some light bleeding from your urethra or a burning sensation when you urinate. Sometimes, patients experience more frequent urination for a day or two following cystoscopy. You can ease these symptoms by drinking plenty of water, taking over-the-counter pain relievers, and placing a damp, warm washcloth over the opening of your urethra.

The reasons you may need a cystoscopy

Your doctor may order a cystoscopy to diagnose, monitor, or treat an issue that affects your bladder and/or urethra.

Investigative cystoscopy

A cystoscopy can help the doctor understand what’s causing symptoms like:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Overactive bladder
  • Incontinence
  • Painful urination

Sometimes, your doctor uses the procedure to figure out why you have recurrent urinary tract infections.

Diagnostic cystoscopy

If your doctor suspects you have a condition like bladder stones, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder cancer, or an enlarged prostate, they may order a diagnostic cystoscopy to confirm the diagnosis.


Special tools can pass through the tube used for a cystoscopy, called a cystoscope, to treat stones or small tumors.

Results of your cystoscopy

Your doctor may discuss the results of your cystoscopy right afterwards or, in some cases, may schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss your results. If you had a biopsy, your doctor contacts you with the results when the information is back from the lab.

If you’re concerned about the health of your bladder or need other urological care, contact Gulf Coast Urology today. Call the office in either Houston or Nassau Bay, Texas, or use our online tool to request an appointment at your convenience.

We’re here for you

Book your personalized care

To access the best, most comprehensive urological care, partner with the team at Gulf Coast Urology. Request your appointment today by calling the office or clicking the online booking tool.

Gulf Coast Urology patient and doctor