An endoscope is a long, thin, flexible tube, equipped with a light, a video camera that relays images to a television screen and sometimes other tools that cut or carry.
There are different endoscopes for various parts of the body; the one for examining the urethra and the urinary bladder is a cystoscope.
The cystoscope (or endoscope) is introduced via your urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to where it exits the body, in women the vulva (between the clitoris and the vagina), in men at the tip of the penis.
A bladder endoscopy, which can take as little as 5 minutes, is generally carried out under a local anaesthetic – this is a gel applied to your urethra, that also helps the cystoscope to slide in more easily.
It is not painful and is usually safe, but it can be a little uncomfortable. However, you may notice a little blood in your urine, which should last no more than 24 hours.