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Recovery - Cystoscopy

You should be able to get back to normal quite quickly after a cystoscopy.

How long it takes to recover depends if you had a flexible cystoscopy (using local anaesthetic gel) or a rigid cystoscopy (under general anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic).

Going home after a flexible cystoscopy

You'll be able to go home shortly after a flexible cystoscopy, once you've emptied your bladder.

There's usually no need to wait in the hospital until the anaesthetic has completely worn off.

Going home after a rigid cystoscopy

If you have a rigid cystoscopy, you'll probably need to stay in hospital for a few hours until the anaesthetic starts to wear off.

You can go home once you're feeling better and you've emptied your bladder. Most people leave hospital the same day, but sometimes an overnight stay might be needed.

You'll need to arrange for someone to take you home as you will not be able to drive for at least 24 hours.

Getting back to normal after a flexible cystoscopy

You can return to your normal activities – including work, exercise and having sex – as soon as you feel able to after a flexible cystoscopy.

This will often be later the same day or possibly the day after.

Getting back to normal after a rigid cystoscopy

After a rigid cystoscopy:

  • rest at home for a day or two – you may need to take a couple of days off work
  • make sure someone stays with you for the first 24 hours
  • do not drive or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours

You can usually return to your normal activities – including work, exercise and having sex – when you feel able to.

After effects of a cystoscopy

After a cystoscopy, it's normal to have:

  • a burning or stinging sensation when peeing
  • some blood in your pee, which may turn it slightly pink
  • a need to pee more often than usual

These side effects should pass after a day or two.

Drinking plenty of water during the first few days can help. You can also take painkillers such as paracetamol to reduce any discomfort.

When to get medical advice

Some problems could be caused by complications of a cystoscopy, such as an infection.

Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP for advice if:

  • the pain or bleeding lasts more than a few days
  • peeing is very painful
  • your pee becomes so bloody that you cannot see through it
  • you see red lumps (blood clots) in your pee
  • you cannot empty your bladder
  • your pee smells bad
  • you get a high temperature (fever) of 38 degrees Celsius or above
  • you feel sick or vomit
  • you have pain in your lower back or side

Emergency action required: Go to your nearest emergency department (ED) if:

  • you feel really unwell

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 22 March 2021
Next review due: 22 March 2024

This project has received funding from the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019 under Grant Agreement Number 123.