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Are cystoscopies painful?

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Quick Answer

A cystoscopy does not usually cause pain, but it can be uncomfortable, according to NHS Choices. Some patients experience a burning sensation while the cystoscope is being inserted and removed from the bladder.

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Full Answer

During a cystoscopy, a doctor inserts a flexible or rigid cystoscope into the bladder, explains NHS Choices. Local anesthetic is typically used with a flexible cystoscope, while epidural or general anesthesia is more commonly used with a rigid cystoscope. The type of anesthesia used affects how much discomfort a person experiences while undergoing a cystoscopy. If the doctor uses a local anesthetic, a numbing gel is applied to the urethra before the procedure. The cystoscope is also coated with numbing gel to make insertion more comfortable.

If an epidural anesthetic is used, there may be some discomfort when the anesthesiologist inserts a needle into the back, notes NHS Choices. General anesthesia is administered via an IV in the arm, so there may be some slight discomfort while the IV is inserted.

Following a cystoscopy, it is not unusual to experience a burning sensation while urinating, reports Mayo Clinic. Some people also have some bleeding from the urethra following this procedure. Drinking plenty of water, taking warm baths and applying a warm washcloth to the urethral opening can relieve discomfort.

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