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Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

What is a Sigmoidoscopy?

A sigmoidoscopy, often referred to as a flexible sigmoidoscopy, that is similar to a colonoscopy. The difference between the two is a colonoscopy is intended to examine your entire colon, while a sigmoidoscopy is only intended to examine your sigmoid colon. For the procedure, just like a

Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

colonoscopy, there will be a long and thin flexible tube that has a camera and light on the tip inserted through the rectum. The tube can blow little puffs of air to expand the colon to give the doctor a clearer view through the exam. Typically the patient isn't under sedation during this procedure. Though during the procedure you might feel uncomfortable, there is typically no pain involved in this procedure. If your doctor sees any abnormalities such as polyps or growths, they can either remove them or biopsy them. The procedure normally takes about 10 to 20 minutes to complete and patients will be receiving a sedative for the procedure, which will require them to have a ride drive them, stay with them and drive them home after the procedure.

Your doctor might suggest a sigmoidoscopy procedure to check for:

  • Ulcers

  • Hemorrhoids

  • Abnormal Cells

  • Polyps

  • Cancer

Or if you exhibit the following symptoms:​

  • Changes in your bowel habits

  • Rectal Bleeding

  • Abdominal Pain

  • Unexplained weight loss ​

How to prepare for the procedure

Preparing for a sigmoidoscopy can be a lot preparing for a colonoscopy.

For instructions on preparing for a colonoscopy click here.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions as to what to eat. Also he may give you specific instructions on when to stop eating prior to the procedures scheduled date. The doctor may give you at least one enema before the procedure to ensure that your lower intestine and rectum are empty. It is important to follow your doctors instructions very careful and ask questions if you have any. 

What to expect after the procedure.

After the procedure, your doctor will go over the results with you. You can also resume normal diet and activities, unless otherwise specified by your doctor. This is another important time to ask any questions you may have.


There are few side-effects of this procedure. You may feel some cramping or feel like you are having gas, but this usually passes quickly.

If after the examination you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention immediately:

  • Severe abdominal pain

  • Fever and chills

  • Heavy rectal bleeding

  • Any symptom not present prior to procedure

Symptom and Diseases
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Bloating & Gas Disorders
Peptic Ulcer Disorders
Abdominal Pain
Evaluation of Celiac Disease
Swallowing Disorders
Crohn's Disease
Ulcerative Colitis
Hepatitis A, B, & C
Liver Disorders
Pancreatic Diseases
Gastro-Intestinal Cancer
Helicobacter Pylori
Obscure GI Bleeding
Rectal Bleeding
Heart Burn

Viplove Senadhi, D.O.

Board Certified in Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Internal Medicine

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