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Community Feedback: The Cystoscopy Experience

A cystoscopy is a procedure that looks at the urinary system to diagnose and treat conditions of the bladder, urethra, and prostate. It takes a look inside the urethra and bladder using a cystoscope, which is a small, thin tube with a light and a magnifying camera on the end. The design of the cystoscope is what helps your healthcare provider see what’s going on inside your body without having to perform a more invasive procedure. There are often many fears and anxieties associated with receiving a cystoscopy, especially if an individual has never had one before.

First-hand cystoscopy experiences

We recently published an article in which one of our contributors, Jennifer Toth, wrote about her experience of getting a cystoscopy. Her article led to a large response from the community that included many stories from our members on this topic, sharing their first-hand experiences and how they were similar or different from Jennifer’s. Read on to see some of the great responses we received!

Quicker than expected

One common theme present in many comments was how surprisingly quick the whole procedure lasted. While everyone’s timeline can vary for different reasons, some of our members reported that the whole experience took just a few short minutes.
“I was amazed once I had it done how simple and quick it was.”
“Once inserted it’s a pretty quick and easy procedure.”
“My last Cystoscope I never felt a thing, just stay relaxed it’s over in less than 5 minutes.”
“It was over rather quickly.”

Virtually painless cystoscopy experience

As said before, while everyone’s experience may be different, many of our members described their cystoscopies as quick and relatively pain-free. However, some did describe a sense of discomfort.
“Just had a cystoscope done recently. Only a few seconds of discomfort and then no pain at all. Feeling blessed the results were good.”
“The procedure was not painful.”
“It was a bit uncomfortable, but it was painless.”
“I have had several cystoscopes done and they never hurt.”
“Uncomfortable but not painful!”
“Maybe I was one of the lucky ones, but I didn’t have any pain, just a little discomfort.”
“It is an uncomfortable test, not unbearable, just uncomfortable.”
“I’ve had three bladder surgeries and several cystoscopes, none of them hurt, just uncomfortable.”
“I just had my fourth one with my new urologist. My first one was rather rough, but the fourth one didn’t hurt at all. It was pain-free because my new doctor took steps to assure it would be.”
“It’s not as bad as it sounds. I was very nervous but there is no need to be.”

Of course, as this last comment implies, some individuals do experience pain during or after the procedure. If you are experiencing pain, or are worried you will, consider talking with your healthcare team about any options that may be available to reduce your discomfort.
“Had it done TWICE! NOT a fan!”
“Hurt so bad for days afterwards.”
“Extremely painful.”

Needed help to make it more comfortable

Regarding making the process more comfortable, many felt that pain control efforts, such as drugs or numbing treatment, were helpful in getting through their cystoscopy. Some providers may recommend the need to be completely put to sleep, while others may recommend local anesthetic to numb the area. Some may recommend completely different discomfort-relieving options, such as pain medications.
“There are pain medications, nobody should go through this procedure without pain control.”
“Ask for pain relievers for the first 3 days after.”
“I had several. All with anesthesia. I don’t think I could have it done without.”
“Valium helps!!”
“It’s not so bad under sedation”.
“I just get some lidocaine and I’m good to go. I did have some burning afterwards.”
“You can ask for a local anesthetic to numb the area if your doctor doesn’t think you need to be completely put to sleep.”
“I have had it a few times. With lidocaine numbing the area, watched the whole procedure on the screen. No pain at all.”
“My husband has had several with anesthesia.”

Hearing from others can help quell anxiety

Most people experience anxiety or fear when faced with the prospect of a medical procedure, including cystoscopies, and this is completely okay. As shown in these comments alone, everyone’s experience and how they deal with it can be very different, which is also normal. If you are concerned about your cystoscopy and any accompanying discomfort, fear, or pain, talk with your provider to find out more details or helpful coping options. Whether you’re preparing for your first cystoscopy, remembering a past procedure, or are gearing up for yet another meeting with the cystoscope, let us know how you view the experience!


  • eesamp
    7 months ago

    I’ve never had any pain from the cystoscopy. My urologist uses one that shows on a high resolution screen and if you want to watch, you can.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    7 months ago

    @eesamp I’m glad to hear you’ve never had any pain form your cystoscopy. Do you usually watch on the screen? Thanks for sharing with us. -Sarah ( Team Member)

  • eesamp
    7 months ago

    I usually do, but not my April 2019 one. I was a bit nervous as I had just finished the full 3 year 27 sessions BCG program. I was lucky as I was receiving the full dose on each. They told me about the world wide shortage of BCG and some were getting half doses. My next scope is in July.

    I had no adverse reactions to BCG. Once or twice I felt flue like symptoms but that passed within an hour or so. The next day I would have to go a lot as I was drinking extravwater. I also was so used to the catheters I barely felt them. Just slight pressure. I will put up the full story soon as this went on since Feb 2012 to April 2019.

  • Sarah Wallin moderator
    7 months ago

    Hi @eesamp, That’s understandable, we hear from most people that they feel nervous, especially leading up to it. You’ll have to keep us updated on how you are when you have your next scope in July. You’re lucky to not have any adverse reactions to the BCG! I’m looking forward to reading your full story. You can share it here ( Let me know if you need help submitting. Take care, Sarah ( Team Member)

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