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During this procedure your Consultant can diagnose reasons for changes in your bowel habits, pain, bleeding from your anus or weight loss. They can also look for early signs of cancer

Sometimes a polyp (small growth) is the cause of the problem and the endoscopist may be able to remove it during the procedure. 

Your consultant will advise you on how to prepare for your flexible sigmoidoscopy; this may include an enema when you arrive on the ward. Be sure and advise us of any medication you are currently taking.

What happens during flexible sigmoidoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy usually takes about 30 minutes. You may be offered a relaxant or some Entonox (laughing gas) to help you relax before the procedure.

Patients usually lie on their side on the examination table. The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into your anus. Air will be blown into your large bowel so that they have a clear view. The endoscopist will be able to look for problems such as inflammation or polyps. They will be able to perform biopsies (take samples) and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.

After your flexible sigmoidoscopy

If you were given a sedative, you will normally recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass. You may experience slight bleeding just after this procedure.

Your Consultant will tell you what was found during the flexible sigmoidoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.

  • Most of our patients are able to go back to work within 24 hours after the procedure unless they get told otherwise.
  • If you were given a sedative, a responsible adult should take you home in a car or taxi and stay with you for at least 12 hours. Be near a telephone in the case of an emergency.
  • Do not drive, operate machinery or do any potentially dangerous activities (this includes cooking) for at least 24 hours and not until you have fully recovered feeling, movement and co-ordination. You should also not sign legal documents or drink alcohol for at least 24 hours.

Some complications of flexible sigmoidoscopy:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Breathing difficulties or heart irregularities
  • Puncture of the colon
  • Bleeding
  • Incomplete procedure


Find your nearest hospital that provides this test
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
Overall rating View rating
Brentwood  

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good
Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Good
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370 922
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL51 6SY

01242 246 552
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding
Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Oxford  

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
Overall rating View rating
Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

Switchboard 01483 227800
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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