Introduction to Sigmoidoscopy
It is a procedure to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. Sigmoid colon is located above the rectum and is the last part of large bowel.
What is a Sigmoidoscopy?
It is a procedure to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. Sigmoid colon is located above the rectum and is the last part of large bowel. Sigmoidoscopy is used to see the size, color and texture of the wall of the sigmoid colon and rectum including any growth on the mucosa (intestine’s inner lining) of abnormal tissues for example ulcers, polyps, tumors. Sigmoidoscopy is mostly used for identifying the cause of abdominal pain, stool blood, constipation, unexplained weight loss or to screen for colon cancer.
How is a Sigmoidoscopy performed?
Sigmoidoscopy can be conducted at a hospital or outpatient centre by a trained health care provider.
It is performed using a tube (scope) with a camera on one end, inserted through the anus. The scope is gently inserted into the colon. To enlarge the area and help viewing it better air is inserted into the colon. Tissue samples may also be taken with a tiny biopsy tool inserted through the scope. Polyps may be removed using Heat (electrocautery).
How to prepare for a Sigmoidoscopy?
Your health care provider will tell you how to prepare for the exam. The bowel must be cleaned before the procedure. On the morning of the procedure, eat a light breakfast. An enema will be used to empty your bowels usually an hour before the procedure. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and anesthesia is usually not needed.
What happens after a Sigmoidoscopy?
There is a low risk of tearing a hole in the bowel or bleeding at the biopsy site. Overall the risk is low. You can expect abdominal cramps or bloating after the procedure but this goes away quickly. After the procedure you may resume normal activities and return to usual diet.