Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an exam that uses a thin, flexible tube (sigmoidoscope) to evaluate the lower part of the large intestine (colon). This test is recommended every five years for patients over 50 or patients who experience rectal bleeding, chronic diarrhea, and abdominal pain or if their bowel habits change. It is also used to detect colon cancer.

How to Prepare for the Procedure

We will provide you with instructions to help prepare you for the test prior to your appointment. This will involve you following a liquid diet the day prior to your appointment and avoiding drinking or eating anything after midnight prior to your test. A laxative and enema may also be necessary to ensure your colon is completely clean for your procedure. Please let us know about any medications you are taking before your appointment so we can make any necessary adjustments.

What to Expect During the Procedure

This minimally invasive procedure only takes about 15 minutes and does not require any type of sedative. Lying on your side, with your knees pulled to your chest, your doctor will gently insert the sigmoidoscope into your rectum. The video camera on the tip of sigmoidoscope will transmit images taken to a computer monitor allowing your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan for any problems. If necessary, a biopsy may also be taken for further testing.

What to Expect After the Procedure

You can return to your normal daily activities following your exam. You may experience mild cramping and discomfort in the abdomen due to the air that was pushed through the sigmoidoscope, but this is normal and should subside within a couple of hours. It is normal to notice small amounts of blood in the first bowel movement after your procedure, but you should contact our office if the bleeding persists, you have a fever of a 100 degrees or higher or if you experience persistent abdominal pain.