Flexible Sigmoidoscopy


Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a telescopic examination of the anus, rectum and the lower (sigmoid) colon. The
flexible sigmoidoscope is a flexible tube 60 cm long and about the thickness of the little finger. It is inserted
gently into the anus and advanced slowly into the rectum and the lower colon. It is an accurate and simple
method of investigating the cause of rectal bleeding, change in bowel habit, and rectal symptoms such as
pain and diarrhoea. Flexible sigmoidoscopy also is a part of colon screening and surveillance for colon cancer.

As well as identifying and photographing abnormalities of the bowel, samples can be taken and small
procedures, such as polyp removal can be undertaken.

The procedure takes place on the day of admission without anaesthetic or sedation and patients normally
go home on the same day. The procedure is usually painless, but sometimes there is ‘wind’ discomfort as
gas is used to inflate the colon. Patients are given an enema upon arrival at the hospital to empty their lower
bowels, facilitating this procedure.

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