What is a Sigmoidoscopy and What Purpose Does It Serve?

A sigmoidoscopy (sig-moi-DOS-kuh-pee) is a procedure that examines parts of the large intestine and colon with a sigmoidoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera. The tube is inserted into the rectum and the end of the large intestine to inspect tissue abnormalities, explore causes of pelvic pain, rectal bleeding, bowel changes, and chronic diarrhea among other intestinal issues. We may also recommend a sigmoidoscopy to screen for colon cancer.

How Should I Prepare for the Procedure and What Can I Expect?

Before a sigmoidoscopy exam, we’ll ask you to cleanse your colon to ensure we have a clear, unobscured view of your colon and rectum during the procedure. Depending upon your circumstance, we’ll provide you with specific dietary instructions, laxatives, an enema kit, and or any temporary adjustments to your medication regimen.

When you arrive to Digestive Health Associates of Cheyenne for your exam we’ll begin by asking you to change into a gown, lie on your side, and your doctor will guide the sigmoidoscope into your rectum. Air will be pushed via tube to inflate the colon and provide the best view of the inner lining. This may cause you to experience abdominal cramping or the need to pass bowel movement. The sigmoidoscope will capture images of your intestine and colon lining and send them to an external display for review and analysis by your doctor. Should you require a biopsy, your doctor will guide instruments into the rectum and take tissue samples.

A sigmoidoscopy procedure generally takes 15 minutes and does not require sedation or pain medications. Following the exam you may experience mild pelvic discomfort, feel bloated, have the urge to pass gas, or notice blood in your stool following the first bowel movement after the exam. If you continue to pass blood, have persistent pelvic pain, or fever, please contact us. Most patients can resume normal activities and diet immediately after the procedure.

Your doctor will follow up with you to discuss your exam results and determine if additional exams or procedures are required.

Learn More: Sigmoidoscopy

American Cancer Society

Mayo Clinic

National Cancer Institute

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At Digestive Health Associates, we are dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain an optimal level of digestive health.