I am suffering from incontinence and my GP has recommended that I have a cystoscopy. Can you please tell me why this is necessary and if it will be performed under a local anaesthetic?
Mr Neil Harris, Consultant Urologist, Spire Leeds Hospital
Urinary incontinence is a common condition, experienced by both men and women. It can affect people of any age, but is most common in middle age and beyond. It has numerous causes and in most cases the condition can be treated effectively with techniques such as simple lifestyle changes, tablets or minor surgery.
However, if you are suffering from incontinence, it is sometimes necessary to undergo a series of investigations to assess your bladder in detail, before starting treatment. One of these tests might be a cystoscopy. This is an endoscopic procedure in which a small camera is passed down the urethra and into the bladder. It can be performed either under general or local anaesthesia. Local anaesthesia for cystoscopy involves having a small quantity of lubricating gel placed in the urethra and the vast majority of patients easily tolerate the cystoscopy, experiencing only minor discomfort.
If you are required to undergo cystoscopy, the option of general of local anaesthesia will be discussed with you by your urologist.