Cystoscopy

Read about the main complications of a cystoscopy, including urinary tract infections (UTIs) and being unable to empty your bladder.

A cystoscopy is usually a very safe procedure and serious complications are rare.

Speak to your doctor or nurse about the possible risks of the procedure before having it.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are one of the most common complications of a cystoscopy. These are infections of the bladder, kidneys, or small tubes connected to them.

Symptoms of a UTI can include:

  • a burning sensation when peeing that lasts longer than two days
  • a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • pee that smells bad
  • feeling sick and vomiting 
  • pain in your lower back or side

Contact your GP if you have symptoms of a UTI. You may need to take antibiotics.

Being unable to empty your bladder

Some people find it difficult to pee after having a cystoscopy.

You'll normally be asked to empty your bladder before leaving hospital to make sure you're able to, but sometimes it can become difficult to pee after going home.

This can be a sign that your urethra (the tube that carries pee out of the body) or your prostate (a small gland found in men) is swollen.

Contact your GP for advice if you're unable to empty your bladder after a cystoscopy. A thin tube called a catheter may need to be temporarily placed in your bladder to help you pee.

Bleeding and bladder damage

It's normal to have some blood in your pee for a few days after a cystoscopy. But in rare cases it can be a sign that your bladder has been damaged.

Contact your GP if you have lots of blood in your pee – for example, you can't see through your pee – or the bleeding doesn't stop within a few days.

You may need to have a temporary catheter or surgery to repair any damage to your bladder.

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