Why a cystoscopy is used 

A cystoscopy can be used to investigate problems with your bladder or urinary system, or it may be used as part of a medical procedure.

Investigating symptoms

You may need to have a cystoscopy if you experience symptoms that suggest there's something wrong with your bladder. For example:

  • urinary incontinence – the involuntary passing of urine
  • blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • persistent pelvic pain
  • pain or a burning sensation when you pass urine (dysuria)
  • frequently needing to urinate
  • not being able to pass urine or only being able to pass urine intermittently ("stop-start")
  • a feeling that your bladder isn't completely empty after passing urine

Investigating conditions

A cystoscopy may also be needed if you have a condition that affects your urinary system, or previous test results suggest that you may do (such as abnormal urine test results).

Conditions that a cystoscopy may be used to detect or monitor include:

Carrying out procedures

A urologist (specialist in treating bladder conditions) can carry out a number of medical procedures using surgical instruments passed down a cystoscope. These include:

  • removal of a stone from the bladder or ureter
  • obtaining a urine sample from each of the ureters to check for an infection or tumour
  • removing a sample of tissue for testing in cases of suspected bladder cancer (biopsy)
  • inserting a stent (small tube) into a narrowed ureter to help the flow of urine, or removing an existing stent
  • injecting dye into the ureters up towards the kidneys – this will be highlighted on an X-ray and will help to identify problems such as a blockage or kidney stone
  • injecting medication into the bladder or ureters – for example, to treat a problem where urine flows up the ureters

Page last reviewed: 29/04/2015

Next review due: 29/04/2017