Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that looks inside only the lower part of your large bowel or colon using a long flexible tube known as a sigmoidoscope.  This has a light and a camera and surgical tools can be used inside it.  It examines the lining of the bowel and can take tissue samples (biopsies) and remove polyps.  It is part of the national bowel cancer screening programme.

Your GP will have recommended you have a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy if you are suffering from bleeding from the anus, pain the the lower abdomen, persistent diarrhea, changes to your bowel movements or if there is a family history of bowel cancer.

A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is normally performed without sedation or an injection of painkillers.  Sometimes you may be offered Entonox which is a painkiller used to relieve pain during childbirth and is widely used for a variety of procedures and condition.

You should not feel any pain during the procedure but you may have brief periods of discomfort. If polyps are present these can be taken away using a special instrument which can burn away the polyps.

If you have had sedation for your procedure you should not drive a car, operate machinery, return to work, take sleeping tablets, drink alcohol or sign any legally binding documents for 24 hours.