Bladder Home > Cystoscopy

A cystoscopy is often needed when a person experiences certain urinary problems. This medical procedure does not require any cuts or incisions, and it allows your healthcare provider to see the inside of your bladder and urethra. In most cases, the entire process, including preparation, will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

What Is Cystoscopy?

A cystoscopy is a procedure that allows a doctor see the inside of a person's bladder and urethra. This procedure is needed when people experience certain urinary problems.

Understanding the Urinary System

The urinary tract system consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The role of the kidneys is to:
  • Help make red blood cells
  • Help keep bones strong
  • Remove extra water and wastes from the blood (wastes come from the normal breakdown of active muscle and from the food that you eat)
  • Convert the extra water and wastes from the blood to urine.
If your kidneys do not remove these wastes, the wastes will build up in the blood and damage your body.
Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, which is an oval-shaped chamber in the lower abdomen (stomach). Like a balloon, the bladder's elastic walls stretch and expand to store urine and flatten back together when the urine is emptied through the urethra outside of the body.

When Is a Cystoscopy Recommended?

Doctors may recommend a cystoscopy for any of the following conditions:
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Loss of bladder control (incontinence) or overactive bladder
  • Unusual cells found in a urine sample
  • Need for a bladder catheter
  • Painful urination, chronic pelvic pain, or interstitial cystitis
  • Urinary blockage, such as prostate enlargement, stricture, or narrowing of the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones in the urinary tract
  • Unusual growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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