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Flexible sigmoidoscopy

BOWEL SCREENING

A type of endoscopic investigation that's used to help diagnose bowel conditions

About

Your GP might refer you for a flexible sigmoidoscopy if you've noticed changes in your bowel habits, or if you've experienced any rectal bleeding. Your consultant will gently guide a lubricated sigmoidoscope — a fiberoptic tube with a lens or camera on the end — into your anus while watching a screen to look for any problems in the lining of your bowel. The examination usually takes around 20 minutes.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The procedure can be uncomfortable so you can ask your consultant for a sedative. After the examination, your consultant will remove the sigmoidoscope.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Let your consultant know if you're taking any medication. Like all procedures, there might be some risks and side effects. Your consultant will discuss these with you. Your consultant will usually ask you not to eat on the day before your examination. If they do, you'll have to stick to a clear liquid diet. Your consultant will explain which liquids you can drink. Sometimes you might be asked to follow this diet for up to three days before your procedure. The night before your sigmoidoscopy, your consultant may ask you to take a laxative to loosen your stools. Sometimes you'll need one or more enemas on the morning of the examination.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    If you're having a sedative for your examination you should arrange for someone to drive you home as you won't be able to drive yourself. You should be able to leave the hospital on the same day of your bowel screening. You might experience bloating or cramps in your abdomen for about an hour after the examination but you shouldn't feel any pain. If you do experience pain, bleeding or fever, tell your consultant immediately.

Don't wait, pay for yourself

We offer this procedure at a fixed price at some of our facilities. 
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatients centres and specialist units.  

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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