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Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure to look at the inside of the left, lower part of your colon (large bowel) using a flexible telescope (see figure 1). A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a good way of finding out if there is a problem in the lower part of your large bowel.
Sometimes a polyp (small growth) is the cause of the problem and the endoscopist may be able to remove it during the procedure.
Other options include a colonoscopy, a barium enema (an x-ray test of your large bowel) or a CT colography (a scan of your large bowel).
A flexible sigmoidoscopy usually takes 15 to 20 minutes.
The endoscopist will place a flexible telescope (endoscope) into your back passage. Air will be blown into your large bowel to help the endoscopist 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 and take photographs to help make the diagnosis.
If you were given a sedative, you will usually recover in about an hour. You may feel a bit bloated for a few hours but this will pass.
The healthcare team will tell you what was found during the flexible sigmoidoscopy and discuss with you any treatment or follow-up you need.
You should be able to return to work the next day unless you are told otherwise.
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually a safe and effective way of finding out if there is a problem with the lower part of your large bowel.
Author: Mr Jonathan Lund DM FRCS (Gen. Surg.)
Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © Medical-Artist.com
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