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Flexible cystoscopy (female)

3-minute read

This page will give you information about a flexible cystoscopy (for women). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a flexible cystoscopy?

A flexible cystoscopy is a procedure to check for any problems in your bladder using a flexible telescope (cystoscope).

What are the benefits of a flexible cystoscopy?

You may be getting pain, blood in your urine, repeated infections, or you may have an irritable bladder (a sudden and uncontrolled urge to pass urine).

If your doctor does see a problem during the cystoscopy, they may perform a biopsy (removing small pieces of tissue).

Are there any alternatives to a flexible cystoscopy?

A scan may give some information about the cause of the problem but a flexible cystoscopy often leads to a diagnosis.

It is possible to have a rigid cystoscopy that allows your surgeon to treat certain problems with your bladder and urinary tubes. However, a rigid cystoscopy involves a general or spinal anaesthetic.

What does the procedure involve?

A flexible cystoscopy usually takes about 5 minutes.

They may squeeze some local anaesthetic jelly into your urethra to help prevent infection and reduce discomfort.

Your doctor will pass the cystoscope into your urethra.

Your doctor will pass fluid through the cystoscope and into your bladder to help them make the diagnosis. They will use the cystoscope to look for any problems in the lining of your bladder.

If your doctor finds a small growth or stone, it may be possible to remove it through the cystoscope.

Illustration showing a flexible cystoscopy (female).
A flexible cystoscopy.

What complications can happen?

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • narrowing of your urethra

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day, after you have passed urine.

You should be able to return to work the day after the cystoscopy unless you are told otherwise.

The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the cystoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Summary

A flexible cystoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with your bladder.

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Last reviewed: September 2019


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