Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy looks inside the lower part of your large bowel. It is used to confirm whether there are any abnormalities present and also as a general screening tool for colon cancer.

What is a flexible sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a minimally invasive day case procedure that checks the lower part of your large bowel for signs of cancer and investigates symptoms such as persistent diarrhoea, bleeding from your bottom, and constipation. It takes just ten to 20 minutes to perform.

A thin and flexible tube with a camera on the end, called a sigmoidoscope, is carefully inserted into your back passage. Your endoscopist looks at images of your sigmoid colon on a video monitor. They may pass small amounts of gas through the sigmoidoscope into your lower bowel to make it easier to see. The tube is about the thickness of your index finger.

Sometimes small tissue samples, called biopsies of your bowel are taken for analysis.

How painful is a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a quick test that is generally not painful. It may be mildly uncomfortable and you might feel a slight pinch if your surgeon needs to take a tissue sample biopsy.

After a flexible sigmoidoscopy, you may experience some cramping or the need to pass gas but this will pass quickly.

What is the difference between a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy are both common tests to examine the health of your digestive system and to help diagnose digestive illnesses.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a quick test that only examines your sigmoid colon which is the lower part of your colon or large intestine. The endoscope used in sigmoidoscopy is shorter than in a colonoscope and so it doesn't allow your doctor to see your entire colon.

A colonoscopy looks at the whole of your large intestine right up to the end of your small intestine. As a colonoscope is longer and looks further it can be more uncomfortable than a flexible sigmoidoscopy and you may need a sedative.

Your doctor will advise you which test they recommend based on your symptoms and medical history.

What does a sigmoidoscopy show?

A sigmoidoscopy shows any abnormalities in the lower part of your large intestine, including polyps, ulcers, abnormal cells and bowel cancer.

A sample of tissue may be taken to check for any abnormal cell changes.

What is the recovery process after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?

You should be able to go home the same day. If you had a sedative, you will need to have an adult to drive you home and stay with you for the rest of the day. If you haven't had a sedative, you will be able to go home when you are ready.

You should be able to return to your usual activities the same day.

If gas is used during the procedure you might feel bloated or have some mild cramping pain. This usually settles after a few hours.

Before you leave, a member of the healthcare team will explain the findings of your sigmoidoscopy. If biopsies were taken, they will be sent to the pathology lab for further analysis. We will advise you of the results when we receive them.

What is the cost of a flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure

You will receive a formal quotation price following your consultation with one of our expert surgeons. This formal quote for your flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure will be valid for 60 days and includes unlimited aftercare.

Ramsay is recognised by all major medical insurers. Flexible sigmoidoscopy procedure is covered by most medical insurance policies. We advise you to obtain written authorisation from your insurance provider before starting your treatment.

We have a number of finance options if you are paying for your sigmoidoscopy yourself. These include:

  • Interest-free finance – 0% interest, no deposit and affordable monthly instalments.
  • All-inclusive Total Care - one-off pre-agreed payment for access to all the treatment you need for complete reassurance.
  • Pay as you go – flexible funding to pay for treatment as and when costs arise. Often used if your treatment costs are difficult to assess.

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy at Ramsay Health Care UK

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a routine procedure at Ramsay Health Care UK. Highly experienced endoscopists will perform a sigmoidoscopy to investigate your symptoms

You can book a flexible sigmoidoscopy appointment without waiting. If your Ramsay hospital of choice has a purpose-built endoscopy unit then your sigmoidoscopy will be performed in this unit. Our dedicated endoscopy units have the latest equipment as well as JAG accreditation for high-quality endoscopy services.

You will be able to rest in our private and comfortable recovery area, and go home the same day.

Patient and staff safety are our primary concern. All Ramsay hospitals follow strict protocols to control and prevent infection, including Covid 19.

Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

or use my current location

Related Content

Image of plate with fish and vegetables

7 Tips to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Keeping your heart as healthy as possible is all about living a healthy lifestyle. There are little things you can do every day and bigger decisions that can all help with maintaining a healthy heart.

Continue Reading

What to expect from a stay in a private hospital

If you’re considering private treatment then you may be wondering what it’s like to stay in a private hospital.

Continue Reading
7 ways to manage stress

7 Ways to Manage Stress

Most of us are exposed to stress at one time or another in our lives, whether from work, family, or other responsibilities and circumstances. A little stress can often be beneficial, but when we’re put under too much pressure it has the potential to quickly become a problem.

Continue Reading
burn calories hero

Fun Ways to Burn Calories

Here are some more accessible and fun ways to exercise and burn calories at home.

Continue Reading
10 minute workout hero

10-Minute Workouts for Exercising at Home

Finding the time to workout can be tough, so here are some 10-minute exercises that can be fitted into your daily schedule at any time

Continue Reading

Best Short Workouts to Keep Fit at Home

We’ve chosen some of the best workouts to do at home so you can get back to being active and improve your fitness levels.

Continue Reading

How to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Here are some tips which might help you achieve easier sleep and a deeper slumber.

Continue Reading
Boost Immune System Ramsay

How To Boost Your Immune System

To help you boost your immune system, we’ve come up with five handy ways to keep things running at their maximum capacity.

Continue Reading

6 lifestyle choices to help prevent heart disease

Keeping a healthy heart is the most important thing you can do to prevent heart disease. Here are 6 lifestyle choices to consider:

Continue Reading

Choosing Private Health Care in the UK

Why go private? What to look for when choosing private health care? Advantages and costs of private health care.

Continue Reading

Paying for yourself?

Get in touch

Need some advice on a treatment price or booking an initial appointment?

We're here to help.

Or send us a message...