A flexible sigmoidoscopy is an office based diagnostic procedure that allows your doctor to examine the rectum and part of the colon (large intestine). This procedure can determine the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain or constipation, as well as detecting early signs of cancer.
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy, your doctor will insert a thin tube with a camera on the end called a sigmoidoscope through the rectum and into the colon. Images of the rectum and colon are displayed on a screen for you and your doctor to examine and detect any abnormalities. A biopsy can be taken during this procedure as well.
In the office patients are not sedated for this procedure. Because you are not sedated, you can both drive yourself to the office and home afterwards. A sigmoidoscopy only takes 10 to 20 minutes and does not require any downtime. Some people may experience pressure and cramping in the abdomen, but these effects are temporary. If certain symptoms, such as colon polyps, are found, a more thorough examination may be required.
Preparing for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
The following PDF document contains instructions on Preparing for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy. It can be downloaded to your computer and printed at home.