Flexible Sigmoidoscopy allows your Charleston Gastroenterology Center physician to look at the inside of the large intestine through the last part of the colon, which is called the sigmoid or descending colon. With this procedure the doctor may find the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain, or constipation. Early signs of cancer may also be found. Any bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths, and ulcers are other problems the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy looks for. The scope shows an image so the physician can carefully examine the lining of the rectum and colon. If anything unusual is found, like a polyp or inflamed tissue, the physician can remove a piece of it using instruments inserted into the scope and send that piece of tissue to the lab for testing. Some prepping will be required as instructed by your Charleston Gastroenterology Center doctor or physician’s assistant.

Preparing for the Procedure

Your Charleston Gastroenterology Center nurse or doctor will provide you with preparation instructions before the examination.

What to Expect

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is usually well tolerated. You might experience a feeling of pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. You will lie on your side while your doctor advances the sigmoidoscope through the rectum and colon. As your Charleston Gastroenterology Center doctor withdraws the instrument, he will carefully examine the lining of the intestine.


If your doctor administers sedation, you will need a driver and you should not drive for the rest of the day. Most likely your Charleston Gastroenterology Center doctor will explain the results to you when the procedure is done. Some patients feel mild cramping or some bloating due to the air passed into the colon during the examination. This will alleviate quickly when you pass gas. Assuming you did not receive any sedative medication you should be able to resume your normal activities after leaving. You may also enjoy your meals as normal.