This handout will tell you what to expect during a cystoscopy and what to do at home after your cystoscopy.

A cystoscopy is an exam of your bladder and urethra (the tube which carries urine from your bladder to outside your body). Your doctor will insert a small scope instrument with a light cord attached into your bladder through your urethra. The doctor will slowly fill your bladder with water so the walls expand and the inside of your bladder can be seen more easily. This is a sterile procedure.

 Your visit will take 1 to 1.5 hours. The actual exam will take 5 to 10 minutes.

Before the Exam

There are no special eating or drinking instructions before the exam.

When you arrive at the clinic, we will ask you to give a urine sample. We will inform your doctor of the urine results. If your urine is infected with bacteria, we may not be able to continue with the exam.

The day of the exam we will ask you to give a brief health history, read and sign a consent form. A staff member will check your blood pressure and pulse before and after the exam.

Tell the staff if you have had an artificial joint replacement in the last 2 years. 

We will wash you with a special soap and cover you with sterile sheets. We will use a numbing jelly on the area where the scope is inserted.

During or after the exam the doctor will talk with you about the results and your future care.

After the Exam

  • You may have burning and a small amount of blood in your urine. This should go away after you have urinated a few times. 

  • Drink 8-10 (8 oz) glasses of fluid the rest of the day and evening to decrease the risk of infection. This includes water, milk, tea, coffee, or juice. 

  • There are no activity restrictions after a cystoscopy. 

When to Call the Doctor

  • If you have red or bloody urine that lasts more than 1 day.

  • If you are unable to pass urine.

  • If your urine is cloudy or foul-smelling.

  • If you have lower back or hip pain.

  • If it burns when you pass urine for more than 24 hours. 

  • If your temperature is greater than 101°F by mouth.

Phone Numbers

UW Health Urology


UW Health East Madison Hospital Urology


UW Health One South Park Urology


After hours, nights, weekends, and holidays, the clinic number is answered by the paging operator. Ask for the urology doctor on call. Leave your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back. The toll free number is: 1-844-607-4800.

Your medical record number is _____________________________.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.