Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a flexible lighted tube passes through the anus into the rectum and lower part of the large bowel (colon) for direct examination.

What to Expect: Flexible sigmoidoscopy rarely causes much discomfort. There is often a feeling of pressure, bloating, or cramping at times during the procedure. You will be lying on your side or back while the scope advances slowly though the lower portion of the large intestine (colon). The scope is then slowly withdrawn and the lining of the intestine is examined. The procedure usually takes about 5-10 minutes. If the scope shows something abnormal the physician may take a biopsy speciment. Remember that biopsies happen for many reasons and do not necessarily mean cancer is a possibility.


The lower part of the colon must be completely clean for the procedure to be accurate and complete. Your physician will give you instructions about diet and the cleansing routing to use. This usually consists of a laxative and enemas. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully, or the examination may need to repeat. You will also need to refrain from taking any blood thinners or any medication containing aspirin or ibuprofen for 5 days before your procedure

For more information, please visit the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy website: Understanding Flexible Sigmoidoscopy