Some urinary symptoms – such as those outlined below – are due to problems in the bladder or urethra. Sometimes the cause of your symptoms will be clear from X-rays or tests of your blood or urine, but often the only way your doctor can be sure what is going on is to look inside your bladder. A cystoscopy can help to diagnose the causes of symptoms such as:

  • Blood in your urine (haematuria)
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating (passing urine)
  • Frequency in passing urine (going more often day and night)
  • Slow urinary stream
  • Incontinence of urine (inability to control when you urinate).

A cystoscopy is a procedure that looks at the bladder and other parts of the urinary system. It involves inserting a special tube, called a cystoscope, into the urethra and then passing it through to the bladder. There are two types of cystoscope: rigid and flexible.

Your examination will use a flexible cystoscope, which is a fibre-optic tube that can move around bends in the urinary system. It is about the thickness of a pencil and has a tiny video camera on one end, so the doctor can view an image of your urinary system on a screen.

Flexible cystoscopes are generally used to help make a diagnosis or to see if a treatment has been successful.