An endoscopy involves a long, thin tube containing a small camera and light being inserted into the body, through the mouth or anus, in order to observe an organ, such as the gastrointestinal tract. It is a minimally invasive procedure that delivers highly detailed, precise images that help a clinician determine what is going on in a patient’s body.

Endoscopies are used to help explain why a patient may be experiencing certain symptoms such as stomach pain, changes in bowel habits, rectal bleeding or ulcers. During an endoscopy, your clinician may want to take samples of any tissue that looks abnormal.


A gastroscopy is carried out to observe the upper part of the digestive system, which encompasses the oesophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel. Patients undergoing a gastroscopy will have a long, thin tube inserted into their mouth, down their throat and into their stomach. Following this, air is pumped into the stomach to inflate it. This can cause bloating and burping, but this should not last for long. Prior to the procedure, patients must be nil-by-mouth for at least six hours. It normally takes 10 to 30 minutes for the procedure to be carried out.

Gastroscopies may be recommended if symptoms including indigestion, difficulty swallowing, abnormal bleeding and low iron levels are being experienced.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy

Flexible sigmoidoscopy looks at the lower part of the large bowel. A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a long thin tube called a colonoscope, and it is inserted via the rectum. If you are suffering from diarrhoea, bowel habit changes, stomach pain and rectal bleeding, the procedure may be recommended.

Prior to a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the bowels must be emptied so that there is a clear view. The process entails the colonoscope (covered in gel, to make insertion easier) being placed into the rectum and up into the large bowel. A small amount of gas and water is placed inside to improve the view of the bowel lining. Pain relief can be offered if necessary.

Throughout, photos are taken of the bowel lining to detect any potential abnormal areas. If there is blood spotting, tissue samples will be taken. If bowel polyps (growths) are found, they can be removed with a wire loop. Usually, a flexible sigmoidoscopy takes between 10 to 25 minutes.


Colonoscopies examine the insides of the bowels. Laxatives are taken prior to the procedure so that the bowels are completely empty, providing a clear view for the clinician. Rectal bleeding or blood in the poo, diarrhoea or constipation and weight loss for no apparent reason are all potential reasons that a patient may undergo a colonoscopy.

Conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, diverticular disease and diverticulitis, and bowel cancer can all be diagnosed following a colonoscopy.

If somebody has bowel polyps, a colonoscopy may be recommended as these can be removed during the procedure. Like a flexible sigmoidoscopy, the bowels must be empty before the procedure can begin.

The procedure involves a colonoscope being inserted into the rectum and colon. The bowels are opened up by air being pumped in, and the colonoscope travels through the large bowel. Any bowel growths (polyps) will be removed. Following a colonoscopy, it is normal to experience stomach cramps and to feel bloated. These should go within two to three hours. Rectal bleeding or blood in the poo are also common.

To find out more or make an appointment with Mr Hornung, please call 0161 495 6148