Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. The sigmoid colon is the area of the large intestine nearest the rectum.
During the test:
Sigmoidoscopy using a rigid scope may be done to treat problems of the anus or rectum.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you how to prepare for the exam. You will use an enema to empty your bowels. This is usually done 1 hour before the sigmoidoscopy.
On the morning of the procedure, eat a light breakfast.
During the exam you may feel:
After the test, your body will pass the air that was put into your colon.
Children may be given medicine to make them sleep lightly (sedated) for this procedure.
Your doctor may recommend this test to look for the cause of:
This test can also be used to:
A normal test result will show no problems with the color, texture, and size of the lining of the sigmoid colon, rectal mucosa, rectum, and anus.
Abnormal results can indicate:
There is a slight risk of bowel perforation (tearing a hole) and bleeding at the biopsy sites. The overall risk is very small.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy; Sigmoidoscopy - flexible; Proctoscopy; Proctosigmoidoscopy; Rigid sigmoidoscopy
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National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines): Colorectal cancer screening. Version 2.2013. Available at http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/colorectal_screening.pdf. Accessed October 24, 2013.
Pasricha PJ. Gastrointestinal endoscopy. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 136.
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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