- Understanding Colon Cancer Screening
- Make the Best Choice for Your Endoscopic Procedure
- Understanding Upper Endoscopy
- Understanding Endoscopic Ultrasonography
- Understanding Colonoscopy
- Understanding Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Understanding Colon Polyps and Their Treatment
- Understanding Esophageal Dilation
- Understanding Capsule Endoscopy
- Understanding Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy
- Ensuring the Safety of Your Endoscopic Procedure
- Understanding Diverticulosis
- Understanding Esophageal Testing or Manometry
- Understanding Minor Rectal Bleeding
- Understanding Bowel Preparation
- Understanding Barrett’s Esophagus
- Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
This information was developed by the Publications Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). For more information about ASGE, visit www.asge.org.
This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
Understanding Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy lets your doctor examine the lining of the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine) by inserting a flexible tube about the thickness of your finger into the anus and slowly advancing it into the rectum and lower part of the colon.
What preparation is required?
Your doctor will tell you what cleansing routine to use. In general, preparation consists of one or two enemas prior to the procedure but could include laxatives or dietary modifications as well. However, in some circumstances your doctor might advise you to forgo any special preparation. Because the rectum and lower colon must be completely empty for the procedure to be accurate, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
Should I continue my current medications?
What can I expect during flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually well-tolerated. You might experience a feeling of pressure, bloating or cramping during the procedure. You will lie on your side while your doctor advances the sigmoidoscope through the rectum and lower part of the colon. As your doctor withdraws the instrument, your doctor will carefully examine the lining of the intestine.
What if the flexible sigmoidoscopy finds something abnormal?
What happens after a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
What are possible complications of flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy and biopsy are safe when performed by doctors who are specially trained and experienced in these endoscopic procedures. Complications are rare, but it’s important for you to recognize early signs of possible complications. Contact your doctor if you notice severe abdominal pain, fevers and chills, or rectal bleeding. Note that rectal bleeding can occur several days after the exam.
Important Reminder: This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
Copyright ©2010. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. All rights reserved. This information may not be reproduced without express written permission by ASGE. For permission requests, please contact the ASGE Communications Department at 630-673-0600.