How Do I Manage Cystoscopy Pain?

A.M. Boyle

Varying degrees of postprocedure pain can result from a cystoscopy. Most likely, you will experience soreness in the area of the urethra and a burning pain during urination. If the pain is severe, your doctor might order prescription pain medication or recommend over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen. Drinking lots of water will help ease cystoscopy pain, especially the burning sensation when urinating. Warm compresses or warm baths, when permitted, can also help.

During a cystoscopy, an implement called a cystoscope is generally inserted into the urethra to examine the bladder and lower urinary tract.
During a cystoscopy, an implement called a cystoscope is generally inserted into the urethra to examine the bladder and lower urinary tract.

During a cystoscopy, an implement called a cystoscope is generally inserted into the urethra to examine the bladder and lower urinary tract. The procedure can be performed for any number of reasons, such as urine collection, biopsy, or removal of small stones. A cystoscopy can last anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. Although you are usually sedated and numbed during the procedure, afterward, you might experience soreness around the urethra as well as a burning pain when urinating. The degree of cystoscopy pain varies depending upon the length of the procedure and the reason it was performed.

A cytoscopy is always performed under general anesthesia.
A cytoscopy is always performed under general anesthesia.

Following a cystoscopy, your doctor may give you a prescription for pain medication. Phenazopyridine is a popular choice because it numbs the urinary tract and lessens the burning sensation when urinating, although it will generally turn your urine a bright orange color. If your cystoscopy pain is not overly troublesome, instead of prescription medication, your doctor might recommend over-the-counter analgesics such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These can help to reduce the soreness around the area of the cystoscopy.

Burning during urination may occur as a result of a cystoscopy.
Burning during urination may occur as a result of a cystoscopy.

In addition to medications, warm soaks have been found to relieve cystoscopy pain, especially the burning sensation when urinating. If your doctor says it's OK, a warm bath can help ease the discomfort, so long as you keep the water on the tepid side and not hot. If your doctor advises against a bath, try applying a warm compress, such as a soft washcloth soaked in warm water for 15 minutes at a time.

Drinking lots of water will help ease cystoscopy pain.
Drinking lots of water will help ease cystoscopy pain.

Often, your doctor will recommend that you drink a large amount of water immediately following the procedure to help flush your system. For instance, it might be recommended that you drink as much as 16 ounces (about 473 ml) of water within a one-hour period. Although this will make you urinate more frequently, it can also help ease the burning pain when urinating. If you find that it does help relieve your cystoscopy pain, then you might continue to drink plenty of water, although not necessarily as much.

If your doctor advises against a bath, try applying a warm compress to ease cystoscopy pain.
If your doctor advises against a bath, try applying a warm compress to ease cystoscopy pain.

Rest is also an important factor in relieving cystoscopy pain. Your body needs time to heal in order to feel better, so avoid strenuous activity, especially within the first few days following your cystoscopy. Also, if you are experiencing cystoscopy pain, you should avoid sexual activity as it might aggravate your discomfort. Finally, if you have a sudden, dramatic increase in pain, notice an increased amount of blood in your urine, or begin running a fever, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Sexual activity should be avoided if you are experiencing cystoscopy pain.
Sexual activity should be avoided if you are experiencing cystoscopy pain.
A doctor may be able to recommend over-the-counter drugs or write a prescription to help with the pain associated with a cystoscopy.
A doctor may be able to recommend over-the-counter drugs or write a prescription to help with the pain associated with a cystoscopy.
An instrument is inserted into the urethra during a cystoscopy.
An instrument is inserted into the urethra during a cystoscopy.

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