Determine the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation & look for signs of cancer
This 10 to 20 minute procedure allows your physician to examine the inside of the large intestine from the anus through the last part of the colon, also known as the sigmoid or descending colon. Doctors may use flexible sigmoidoscopy, to determine the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation or look for signs of cancer. Your doctor will insert a short flexible, lighted tube, called a sigmoidoscope, into your anus and gradually guide the tube into the colon. The scope of the instrument produces an image of the inside of the anus and colon, enabling the doctor to see bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths or ulcers. If any abnormalities, such as a polyp are found, your physician can remove a piece of it by using instruments inserted into the scope. You may feel pressure and slight cramping in your lower abdomen during the procedure.
Prior to the procedure, the patient will receive instructions on how to clean and empty the colon. This generally consists of a special solution, laxatives or enemas followed by a clear liquid diet until the sigmoidoscopy is performed. Possible complications include bleeding and puncture of the colon. However, these complications are rare.