My Cystoscopy Experience

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I was so nervous about my cystoscopy and was doing endless research online finding information that literally terrified me. I was very, very scared, could hardly eat, had headaches, and found it difficult to think of anything else.  My husband found this site, and I am so thankful he did because reading other’s experiences made it not so scary.  I had some to message me directly calming my fears, so now, I want to do the same in order to help others who are about to embark on the cystoscopy journey!  

My procedure was at 2:45 Thursday, July 7, 2016.

Before the procedure started, I let the nurse know my fears.  Somehow letting someone know you’re nervous seems to help.  She assured me while it may be slightly uncomfortable; it was bearable, would be over in 10 minutes, and gave the doctor a lot of information.  You are lying on your back like you do getting a pap smear.  She inserted the numbing gel and left the room.  I did feel it, but it was not bad.  Didn't like it, but not bad.  While she was gone, I began focusing on how thankful I am for the technology we have today that can find out what is wrong and for doctors who have been given by God the gift of being able to help people.  I then, began doing deep breathing to relax.  The doctor came in and was so kind, and we talked for a moment and he, too, was reassuring.  I felt him put something in and while my body did not like it, I did not find it painful to the point of clenching the sheet.  I felt the camera being turned, and it gave a slight sore feeling—again, not painful just way different.  The saline solution was put in the bladder next.  It didn’t hurt at all.  You do feel it filling your bladder and gives the feeling like you need to go to the bathroom, but trust me, you don’t!  If you do leak somewhat (which I didn’t and haven’t read where others did), they have a pad under you.  Don’t worry at all about that.  After a few more moves of the camera, it was out and over!  Taking it out did not hurt me at all. 

While there, the doctor gave me 1 Cipro to take to help prevent an infection and 1 Uribel (to help with discomfort urinating).  I was given 1 Uribel to take home.  After dressing, I was told to go to the bathroom.  The urine was cool and (what I am about to say was unexpected, but funny) after I finished, some gas pops came out!  I remember thinking, “Mercy, I hope no one heard THAT!”  All dignity gone at this point!  redface

When I went to the bathroom the first few times, it did not burn or hurt.  However, after the numbing wore off, going to the bathroom was not excruciating, but it did burn and in that private area, it felt like something was still there.  This is probably the “sore” feeling others say they feel.  (I did drink plenty of water the rest of the day along with cranberry juice.)  It continued to burn the rest of evening but did not keep me up during the night.  Finally, a good night’s rest!

This morning and through early afternoon, it continued to not feel good urinating, and I even continued having times of shooting pain  ---not bad, I promise, just that soreness, again.  I also continued drinking plenty of water and cranberry juice.  Now, I do have to say, there have been some who don’t have the burning to last as long.  I have a petite frame, and I am very small in the private area which can cause a little more discomfort. 

It is now 7pm, and I feel no soreness whatsoever and a slight burn before and while urinating, so I know my body is getting back to normal.

Would I want to do this again?  No!  But, if I did, I would not be as anxious as I was this time.  I would know it is a procedure that is tolerated and not excruciating.  So don’t be like me and go online finding out all that stuff!  Read posts on this site to give you input and an outlet to help with your fears.  I am so happy I had this site to make me feel more at ease and know what to expect. 

Some places might do things differently (like prep and meds) , but the procedure itself is the same.  Do not be scared!  I am a nervous Nellie, and I did it!  I sure hope my cystoscopy story helps someone getting ready to have one performed.  You can do it!

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  • Posted

    Thank you so much for giving a detailed and frank description of a cystoscopy.  It had been suggested to me that I have one and I refused as I was so scared.   I had great support from this website, especially from Lynne (thank you) who did help me but the fear is so intense I still didn't get one.   

    I tried natural remedies along with prescribed medication, and improved greatly and even got off medication and felt almost "normal",  but unfortunately I've had a bit of a relapse.  My symptoms changed slightly and i've been told it might be a kidney stone which hasn't shown up in my ultrasound. I've put another test in and am praying for an infection(!) because at least then I could get tablets, but I bet it comes back clear and i'm not sure what would happen then.   

    Words can't describe how tightly I clench every muscle"down there" at the thought of a foreign object going into such a small place. (the thought of it is making me do it just now)    I'm scared at the thought of a camera pushing through my very tight detrusor muscle and perhaps loosening it and I end up incontinent.     It's involuntary.  I might not be able to feel the muscle but I will still be tensing up.   

    I know there may come a time when I have to agree to the procedure.  I found your description very honest which means when people are having it done they will be able to think "this is normal this is what happens".  

    I hope so much you get a good result that gives you answers.   Please let us know.   I am sure many people will be reading about your experience and find it helpful and enable them to prepare themselves.   

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    • Posted

      You are so very welcome!  I completely understand about being scared.  After my initial meeting with the urologist, I had to wait almost 2 weeks before the procedure.  At one point, I told my husband, “I am not going to do it, and no one can make me!”  It felt good to rebel a little!  He didn’t say a word because we both knew I was going to do it!  To help me not think about it 24/7, I made a list of projects I considered fun to do every day.  The day before the procedure, I think I was so emotionally drained from worrying that I was glad it was about to be over.  In my post, I mentioned being thankful for having the technology and doctors to be able to help us.  Along with this I want to say, I knew if I didn’t do it, I would worry more for fearing what was in or on the bladder.  If there had been something there, the sooner it is removed, the better.  So I truly believe 10 minutes or less of discomfort is better in the long run and definitely worth it. 

      I also understand about being relieved you had an UTI for I did the same thing!  Mine all started after a pap test.  The lubricant used burned me terribly.  A few weeks after that, I got an UTI.   After 2 different antibiotics, it cleared, but I still had pain after urinating.  So, my primary dr. had me go back to the gynecologist.  When she did the pelvic exam, the lubricant again, burned badly.  I told her and she said I was very sensitive in that area.  It burned and hurt so badly I could hardly sit down for 4 days.  She gave me Uribel to take for 3 days and said if it didn’t help, I needed to see an urologist.  You KNOW how desperately I hoped it would help!  I went to the urologist and explained my situation, and he took a urine sample from the bladder w/ a small catheter.  I had NO IDEA he would do that!  I also gave a sample in the cup prior to this.  I promise you, it was just a little uncomfortable and when he got the urine off the bladder, it felt like it does when you need to urinate.  Over and done within minutes.  No, I didn’t like it, but not painful.  Then, the ultrasound and cystoscopy was scheduled.

      Like you, just thinking of it made me clench those muscles.  One thing you might do is a few days before the procedure, get on your bed and deep breathe while totally trying to relax your muscles.  This way you will have practiced and might make it easier.  When I was going through the procedure, I concentrated on the area and tried to relax.   Again, I think the thought of it and the “unknown” is what frightens us beyond words.

      Today will be the second day after.  I have taken no Uribel because I wanted to see if it still burns to go to the bathroom.  The burning is gone, but I still have a little more urgency when I need to urinate and I feel a soft soreness.  I know that may not make sense.  It is not bad, though.  I am continuing to drink water/ cranberry juice/ taking a cranberry soft gel and if I get up in the night to go to the bathroom, I take a few sips of water.

      My results were good on the ultrasound and cystoscopy.  The dr. believes I had an allergic reaction to the lubricant.  I am to call if the pain after urinating continues.  I am in perimenopause (a WHOLE new discussion rolleyes) and have heard it can cause urinary problems.  I am continuing on as usual working out, etc…(except f/ drinking diet cokes for awhile!)  and being thankful nothing was found.

      Please let me know if you decide to get the procedure.  Even though you can go by yourself (if there doing just the local (numbing gel), it helps to have the security knowing someone is out there waiting for you.  I will be thinking of you and holding good comforting thoughts.

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    • Posted

       I am so glad your results were good.   You got them quickly.   We have to wait about a week before we get ours.

      I completely agree I too am grateful we have the technology to help.   I can't imagine what it was like in "the olden days" when you had to suffer with cystitis, and other pains, with no relief.

      I've been incredibly lucky all my life with very few illnesses and it has come as a shock to me that I cant take a course of pills and be better.    I sailed through the menopause.  Not a single problem, didn't even notice it apart from my periods were no longer happening.    

      I have tried relaxation exercises and they do help when i'm at home which surprised me because I was a non believer.  However, I don't think anything will help me in a hospital.  I could feel myself stressing when a man walked past with plastic tubes in him.   My heart went out to him.

      I will, of course, take my Dr's advice.   I'm still hoping there is a way out of this without having  a cystoscopy. 

      I am sure you will have helped many people.   I would rather know the truth and what to expect.    I will let you know if I have to get the procedure.  

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    • Posted

      Like you, I have been healthy all my life.  3 years ago, my mother passed away.  Since then, I have had 2 frozen shoulders, neck stiffness, and now whatever is causing this!  I will keep my fingers crossed your doctor will not feel it necessary f/ the procedure.  Best wishes.
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  • Posted

    Your description of the experience of a cistoscopy was spot on.

    I have had a cistoscopy every six months for the last three years.

    A bit nervous for the first one, but now go for it with no fear at all.

    ( I must confess I am built slightly different down below)

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    • Posted

      If a person has to have this procedure, I am glad they can read our posts and see the similarity of them and not being painful.  I must admit, I felt a lot better after reading another male's perspective, & it not being terrible before having mine.  I know for males, situations like this can be more painful. Thank you for your reply.

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    • Posted

      Hi, I was hoping you could give me some insight to what is going on now since you have had many cystoscopies.  I had my cystoscopy July 7th.  Last Wednesday, the 13th, I started feeling like I was getting an UTI.  It is one of those “feelings” you just aren’t quite sure about.  By Friday, I was feeling more like I knew I had one.  I called the dr.’s office and he and his staff had left.  The person I spoke with suggested AZO.  It did help somewhat.  I also took an AZO urine test and it shows I do have a mild infection.  Has this happened to you before with your cystoscopies?  I am calling the dr. tomorrow to see if he will prescribe an antibiotic.  I’m beginning to not know what normal going to the restroom feels like! 
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    • Posted

      Just to quickly say how sorry I am to hear you have an infection.     We all know how horrible and painful it is.  I hope you get quite strong antibiotics to help clear it.   You definitely need them.

      I know we get told to drink lots of water, which I do, but I have found, like many others, emptying 2 marshmallow root capsules into a mug of hot water does help to coat the bladder and makes it a bit easier to go.  Of course without the antibiotics that wouldn't work, but alongside them it may help to ease the problem a bit more quickly.   I'm also now doing the same with basil leaves and i've found my flow has increased. (probably because they are alkaline)

      I can't believe how much this changes your life.    To give you a little bit of hope, my symptoms got massively better but then came back.   For some reason they seem to have subsided again just with "natural methods" but I must emphasise that my tests don't show infection so I am told I don't need antibiotics which is where we are different.

      Take care.   Get better soon.


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  • Posted

    I am due to have a cistoscpy next week. My final course of BCG was potponed as urology whanted to find out why I keep on getting UTIs.In the past I very often got a UTI before the BCG or cistoscopy. I have had every antibiotic over the last few years and am running out of options. I take a daily Cranberry capsule which seems to releive most of the UTI symptoms but My urine is very cloudy, indicating infection. Hope I will be clear for next week as if I have an infection, they won't do the cistoscopy.

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    • Posted

      I just know what I have been dealing with for almost 3 months and not knowing is so frustrating.  I've never had this issue until now.  It is not the bladder or kidneys which I am so thankful.  I just wish I knew what it was!

      ?Hang in there and I'll be holding good thoughts for you.

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