Flexible Cystoscopy (Female)

This page will provide you with information about flexible cystoscopy in women. For further details, you should speak to your consultant.

What is a flexible cystoscopy?

Flexible cystoscopy is a procedure performed to check for problems in the bladder with the use of a cystoscope (flexible telescope). If you have pain when passing urine, have blood in the urine, have sudden urges to pass urine (known as an irritable bladder) or repeated bouts of infection then a cystoscopy may be a good course of action.

What are the alternatives to flexible cystoscopy?

It is sometimes possible to have a scan instead of a flexible cystoscopy. Scans can sometimes provide details on underlying issues in the bladder. There is another form of cystoscopy known as rigid cystoscopy. This is performed under general or spinal anaesthetic and can occasionally allow a surgeon to treat issues there and then.

What is involved in a flexible cystoscopy?

A cystoscope will be placed into the urethra (see figure 1). Fluid will then be passed through the cystoscope into the bladder – this helps the doctor in charge to make a clearer diagnosis. The doctor will look at the bladder lining and for growths or stones. Some growths or stones can be removed with the cystoscope. The procedure takes only around 5 minutes.

Figure 1
Cross-section of the female pelvic region showing a flexible cystoscopy
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Risks and Complications

Any risks or complications will be discussed in advance of your treatment with your expert consultant.

How long will it take to heal?

You can return home the same day as a flexible cystoscopy procedure the same day once you have passed urine successfully. You can go back to work 24 hours after the procedure. Recovery can be accelerated with regular exercise, but only begin exercise if given the approval from your consultant. The health team involved in the procedure will inform you of the outcome and if any other treatment is required.


Bladder issues can be safely and effectively recognised with a flexible cystoscopy procedure.


References: EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this page is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.

The information provided here should not replace the advice provided by your relevant health professional.


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