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Read about recovery after a cystoscopy, including how long you're in hospital, when to return to your normal activities, and what after effects to expect.

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).

This page covers:

Going home

Getting back to normal

After effects

When to get medical advice

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.

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 won't 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.

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
  • don't 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

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 can't see through it
  • you see red lumps (blood clots) in your pee
  • you can't empty your bladder
  • your pee smells bad
  • you get a high temperature (fever) of 38C (100.4F) or above
  • you feel sick or vomit
  • you have pain in your lower back or side

Go to your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department if you feel really unwell.

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

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