Flexi-sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that examines the lower or left side of your bowel or colon, including the rectum. This area is highlighted in yellow on the diagram.

A flexi-sigmoidoscopy may be done to investigate symptoms such as rectal bleeding, diarrhoea or abnormal test results. It allows doctors to identify haemorrhoids, inflammation, polyps or even cancers and to take biopsies.

Usually, you will be given an enema when you arrive to help you empty the lower bowel. The procedure involves then passing a flexible tube into the bottom. This may be somewhat uncomfortable so most people choose to have some sedation while it is being done.

If you require sedation, your stomach must be empty at the time of the examination so you cannot have any food or drink for 6 hours before the procedure. If you are not having sedation, you do not need to fast before the test.

Most medications can be taken with a sip of water on the morning of your test. If you are unsure about whether you need to stop medications before your test, please clarify with your doctor well before the date. For example, blood thinners or diabetic medications.

During the test, your doctor may decide if they need to remove polyps or take biopsies.

Although complications during this procedure can occur, they extremely rare. If you have sedation, driving is not permitted for 24 hours after the procedure to allow all the sedation medication to wear off. If you do not require sedation, you can leave shortly after the procedure and you can drive home.