A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an internal examination of the rectum and distal sigmoid colon using an endoscope, or more specifically, a flexible sigmoidoscope. This is a telescope-like instrument with a tiny camera attached to the end that is passed into your bowel and allows the Doctor to closely examine its lining.
The Doctor can also use this instrument to take tissue samples and perform other minor surgical procedures. The examination usually takes about 5 minutes, and may be performed without anaesthetic. If you prefer or if the examination becomes uncomfortable then a sedative will be administered. The lower end of the bowel needs to be clear before sigmoidoscopy. The nurse will administer an enema half an hour before the procedure.
Flexi Sigmoidoscopy – Preparation Instructions
It is essential you adhere to the following instructions:
You will need to fast completely – for eight hours – nothing to eat or drink at all before your procedure. (This also includes sucking on sweets, chewing gum and smoking cigarettes)
You may be sleepy after the procedure if you are given a sedative. The endoscopy nurses will look after you until you are ready to leave, and you may eat and drink once you are fully awake. You should expect to be in the endoscopy unit for three to four hours in total.
If you are given a sedative this may affect your judgement for at least 12 hours following the procedure. You must not drive or operate machinery during this time. Alcohol should be avoided.
You may have some discomfort from bowel gas or, uncommonly, irritation at the injection site. If you have had a biopsy, there may be traces of blood in your first bowel action. If you are concerned about these or any other symptoms immediately after your procedure, you should contact the endoscopy unit or your General Practitioner.
Your referring Doctor will receive a copy of the report a few days later and you should make an appointment to see him or her to discuss the results and further management.