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During this procedure your surgeon 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. Be sure and advise us of any medication you are currently taking

What happens during flexible sigmoidoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy usually takes between fifteen and twenty minutes. You may be given a sedative to help you relax before and during your sigmoidoscopy.

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.

A member of the Healthcare Team will tell you what was found during the flexible sigmoidoscopy and will discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need. You should be able to go back to work the day after the flexible sigmoidoscopy. 

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following flexible sigmoidoscopy.

Specific 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

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Meeting standards

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

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

02920 836700

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ


Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
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

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good

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

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

01926 436351
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

01483 227800
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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