What is Sigmoidoscopy?

Sigmoidoscopy is a medical procedure in which a doctor uses a thin, flexible, lighted tube with a tiny camera on the end to look inside the rectum and part of the large intestine (also known as the colon). It is used to diagnose conditions or diseases that affect the rectum and the lower colon.

Preparation for Sigmoidoscopy

A few days before the sigmoidoscopy, your doctor may ask you to do some special preparations. This includes taking laxatives and an enema (a type of fluid that helps to clean the colon). You may also be asked to follow a special diet, such as drinking clear liquids and avoiding certain foods that may make it difficult for the doctor to see the lining of the colon.

What happens during a Sigmoidoscopy

During the procedure, you will lie down on your side. Your doctor will then pass the sigmoidoscope through the rectum and begin to carefully examine the inner lining of the lower colon. If they see any abnormal growths or tissues, they can take biopsies (small pieces of tissue) for further examination.

Types of Sigmoidoscopy

There are two types of sigmoidoscopy: diagnostic and therapeutic. The diagnostic sigmoidoscopy is used to diagnose any type of colon disorder. A therapeutic sigmoidoscopy is used to treat any conditions or diseases that affect the rectum and the lower colon.

Why Have a Sigmoidoscopy?

  • To diagnose and help treat colon diseases or conditions
  • To look for any signs of cancer in the lower colon
  • To look for inflammation in the lower colon
  • To look for polyps, which are usually benign growths in the lining of the colon

When is Sigmoidoscopy necessary?

  • If you are having symptoms related to a colon condition such as abdominal pain, blood in the stool, or irregular bowel movements
  • If you have a family history of colon cancer or other diseases of the colon
  • If you are over the age of 50 and have never had a colonoscopy
  • If you have had a colonoscopy but need a follow-up exam

What Are the Risks of Sigmoidoscopy?

As with any procedure, there are risks associated with sigmoidoscopy. These include pain, bleeding, and infection. You may also experience bloating or gas after the procedure. If your doctor performs a biopsy, you may experience minor bleeding from the site. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any concerns before the procedure.