A sigmoidoscopy is a test that allows the Doctor to look directly at the lower end of the large bowel (colon).

In order to do the test, a sigmoidoscope (flexible tube about the thickness of a finger with a light on end) is carefully passed though the anus into the large bowel.

Click on the headings below to learn more about this procedure:

What to expect

    Your bowel needs to be empty to allow a clear view. To do this an enema will be given before the examination. An enema is a small amount of fluid placed in the rectum to help clear the bowel. There will be an empty toilet available.

    The test lasts about five minutes and is carried out with you on your left side and your knees bent. You may get a sensation of wanting to go to the toilet but as the bowel is empty there is no danger of this happening. A Doctor and Nurse will be with you throughout the test.

After the test

    After a short rest and a soft drink you can go home. You may feel a little bloated with wind pains but these usually settle quite quickly. A sigmoidoscopy is a very safe examination. The risk of complications - such as bleeding, perforation or infection - is less than one in 1,000 examinations. If you do experience bleeding or severe abdominal pain after the examination you should report back to the hospital or your GP. If you have been in contact with any infectious diseases, please contact the Gastroenterology Department as soon as possible on 01253 303708