What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
It is an examination, which allows the endoscopist to look directly at the lining of the lower part of your bowel. See the diagram. This is done using a sigmoidoscope (a flexible tube about the thickness of a woman’s index finger). Sometimes a sample of the lining of the bowel (biopsy) is taken for laboratory examination. If polyps are found they can be removed during the examination.
Preparation for the test
For this examination to be successful and allow a clear view of the colon, your bowel must be as empty as possible.
It is important to follow the advice given about bowel preparation.
- As part of your preparation you will be given a laxative.
- If the bowel is not sufficiently empty the whole procedure may have to be cancelled and repeated on another occasion. This is due to the high possibility of the endoscopist missing important signs. (It is believed that those patients who have a bowel cancer diagnosed within two years of a previous colonic examination have probably had it missed at the time of the original examination - this scenario is now labelled Post Colonoscopy Colorectal Cancer Syndrome PCCCS).
- If you have diabetes or haemophilia, please discuss with your consultant or pre assessment nurse one week before your test.
- If you are taking warfarin, clopidogrel, or other blood thinning medications, please inform us at least one week before the test.
- If you have a pacemaker or ICD, please inform us at least one week before the test.
- You may continue to take other medications as normal, except iron tablets or stool bulking agents (such as Fybogel, Regulan, Proctoibe) which should be stopped one week before your examination.
- Please bring a list of any medications you are currently taking.If you have any queries about your medication please ring the ward.
- It is especially important to remember to bring any asthma inhalers or angina sprays with you.
- Do not bring any valuables to the ward.
- Please remove your nail polish and all types of false nails before attending for your procedure.
- Please bring with you your dressing gown, slippers, and something to read during your stay.
- Patients feel a spare set of underwear is useful.
Click the link for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Timetable and Diet Sheet