What is flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a diagnostic procedure to examine the walls of the rectum and the lowermost part of the colon (sigmoid). Sigmoidoscopy is performed with a 60 cm-long flexible tube (sigmoidoscope) with a light and a miniature camera that transmits images of the rectum and sigmoid colon.
Alternatives to sigmoidoscopy in evaluating the status of the colon and rectum
What is the difference between a sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy?
Both colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy are screening tests performed with a flexible, lighted tube with a camera. A colonoscopy is examination of the entire colon, while a sigmoidoscopy scopes only the sigmoid colon and rectum.
What is the purpose of a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is performed to assess the health of the lower colon and rectum. A sigmoidoscopy may be performed
- To find the cause for
- To screen for colorectal cancer
- As preoperative evaluation before anorectal surgery
- To monitor previously diagnosed malignancy in the sigmoid
- To treat inflammation (proctitis) from radiation
- To remove tissue for biopsy
- To remove foreign body from the rectum
- To dilate or place stent for strictures
- To stop or prevent bleeding
Flexible sigmoidoscopy may not be performed in the following situations:
What can the flexible sigmoidoscopy detect?
Flexible sigmoidoscopy can detect abnormalities in the rectum and sigmoid colon such as
- Abnormal cells
- Tumors and cancer
Do you need sedation for a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
Sedation is not usually required for flexible sigmoidoscopy. It is a minimally invasive procedure that typically takes about 10 to 20 minutes. Some patients might require a calming medication.
How is a flexible sigmoidoscopy performed?
A gastroenterologist usually performs flexible sigmoidoscopy as an outpatient procedure.
A sigmoidoscopy does not usually need as much colon preparation as a colonoscopy. The patient must, however, ensure that the colon and rectum are completely clear of any gastric content so that there is no obstruction in viewing the rectum and sigmoid. The patient may need to
- Go on a clear liquid diet for one to three days as instructed by the doctor.
- Avoid red and purple foods like beets, which might look like bleeding.
- Take a laxative in case of constipation.
- Avoid eating or drinking anything but water from the night before the procedure.
- Check with the doctor before taking any medications.
- Inform the doctor of pre-existing conditions, diseases or allergies.
- Have an enema before the procedure.
- The patient lies on their side with knees drawn to their chest.
- The doctor inserts the lubricated sigmoidoscope through the anus and guides it slowly through the rectum and sigmoid colon while checking the images in the monitor for abnormalities.
- The doctor may inflate the colon with air to get a better view.
- The doctor will remove polyps if found, extract tissue for a biopsy, and stop any bleeding.
- The doctor then gently withdraws the tube.
- The patient should be able to leave soon after the procedure.
- The results of the sigmoidoscopy helps the doctor decide on future course of treatment.
Is a flexible sigmoidoscopy painful?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is generally not painful, though may be mildly uncomfortable. There might be a slight pinch if the doctor removes tissue for biopsy. Most people will be able to resume normal diet and activities immediately after the procedure.
What are the risks and complications of a flexible sigmoidoscopy?
A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a relatively safe procedure with rarely any complications. The side effects, which usually resolve in a short while, may include
Possible complications include
- Scans Show Brain Changes in People With Long COVID
- Got GERD? Eat This Way to Help Avoid Symptoms
- 5 Women Contracted Syphilis Affecting the Eyes From the Same Asymptomatic Man
- Long COVID Now Common in U.S. Nursing Homes
- Breathing in Coal-Based Pollution Could Be Especially Deadly: Study
- More Health News »
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Is A Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Painful Related Articles
Blood in the Stool (Rectal Bleeding, Hematochezia)Blood in the stool or rectal bleeding (hematochezia) refers to the passage of bright red blood from the anus. Common causes include anal fissures, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, colitis, Crohn's disease, colon and rectum polyps, and cancer. The color of the blood in the stool may provide information about the origin of the bleeding. The color of stool with blood in it may range from black, red, maroon, green yellow, gray, or white, and may be tarry, or sticky. Treatment of blood in the stool depends on the cause.
Byfavo (remimazolam)Byfavo (remimazolam) is a benzodiazepine administered by injection to sedate adults who have to undergo minor surgical procedures lasting 30 minutes or less.
Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer)Colon Cancer (Colorectal Cancer) is a malignancy that arises from the inner lining of the colon. Most, if not all, of these cancers, develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer.
Colon Cancer: How Your Food and Diet Can Affect Colorectal Cancer HealthDiet, including nutrient, antioxidant, and vitamin intake, affects colon cancer risk. Certain dietary factors either decrease or increase the risk of colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and other diseases. Dietary factors may either inhibit or stimulate the development of cancer cells. Have a nutrition plan that decreases the risk.
Colon Cancer IllustrationsMost, if not all, of these cancers develop from colonic polyps. Removal of these precancerous polyps can prevent colon cancer. See a picture of Colon Cancer and learn more about the health topic.
Colon Cancer Prevention
Colorectal cancer is both curable and preventable if it is detected early and completely removed before the cancerous cells metastasize to other parts of the body. Colonoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy (along with digital rectal examination and stool occult blood testing) are both effective at preventing colo-rectal cancers and detecting early colo-rectal cancers.
Colorectal (Colon) Cancer QuizWhat is colorectal (colon) cancer and who gets it? Take this quiz to find out how this disease may be prevented.
Colon Cancer SlideshowColorectal cancer (colon cancer) is the cause of many cancer deaths. Learn about the warning signs, symptoms, screening process, stages, and treatment related to colorectal cancer.
Colon Cancer: 8 Early Warning Signs & 4 StagesColon cancer usually does not cause signs or symptoms in the early stages. As the cancer grows, signs may include blood in the stool, bowel habit changes, abdominal pain, and fatigue. Learn about stages and treatment of colon cancer.
What Is Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to examine the lower colon and rectum. Flexible sigmoidoscopy can investigate the possible cause of rectal bleeding, bowel changes, and symptoms such as rectal pain, diarrhea, or constipation. During the procedure, a biopsy of tissue can be taken for further examination, or polyps may be removed.
Is Bright Red Blood in the Stool Serious?The presence of blood in the stool needs to be evaluated by your doctor. In most cases, the bright red blood in stools is not an immediate threat to life. The most common causes are piles, anal polyps, anal fissures and colitis (inflammation of the large bowel).
All About PolypsDo you know what a polyp is? Learn the definition of a polyp, which can be found in the sinuses, stomach, colon, gallbladder, and elsewhere. Learn about endometrial polyps, adenomatous polyps, sessile polyps, pedunculated polyps, uterine polyps, and cervical polyps. Some are more likely to cause cancer.
Stool Color, Changes, Texture and FormStool color changes can very from green, red, maroon, yellow, white, or black. Causes of changes of stool color can range from foods a person eats, medication, diseases or conditions, pregnancy, cancer, or tumors. Stool can also have texture changes such as greasy or floating stools. Stool that has a uncharacteristically foul odor may be caused by infections such as giardiasis or medical conditions.