What is sigmoidoscopy?
A sigmoidoscopy is a procedure done to examine the lower part of the colon.

Who should undergo this procedure?
This procedure is performed if the doctor suspects or recognizes that the patient has:

Colorectal polyps (small growths on the walls of the intestine or colon).
A tumor in the colon or intestine.

Bleeding in the intestines (known as gastrointestinal bleeding).
Certain types of colitis or inflammation of the colon.
A twist in the lower intestine that is blocking the intestine or causing pain.
This procedure is also for the prevention of colon cancer in healthy patients beginning at age 50. It can be done before age 50 if the person has risk factors, such as a family history of colon cancer.

How is this procedure done?

Before the procedure, the intestine must be removed of solids to allow better visualization. If there is still a lot of stool in the sigmoid colon, the doctor will not be able to see inside the walls of the intestine. The patient will be asked not to eat 8 hours before the procedure. Laxatives and an enema are prescribed before the bowel flushing procedure. If the instructions are not followed, you may have to repeat the procedure.

This procedure takes about 15 to 20 minutes and is done in the office. The patient may be given medicine to help him relax. Before the procedure, the patient will change into a hospital gown. He or she will lie on the exam table in a specific position. During the test, a sigmoidoscope will be used to allow the doctor to view the inside of the colon. Sigmoidoscopy uses a special lighted tube with a camera on the tip.

The anus is lubricated and the scope is inserted through the rectum. This will be somewhat uncomfortable and may cause the urge to have a bowel movement. Puffs of air are emitted from the tube to help keep the colon open, this facilitates visualization of the tissues.

During the procedure, the doctor may:

Remover cualquier pólipo colorrectal.
Tomar una muestra del tejido para ser analizado en el laboratorio.
Enderecer el colon torcido.

¿Qué ocurre después del procedimiento?
La mayoría de la gente toleran el procedimiento y no tienen problemas. Puede ser incómodo, pero por lo regular no es doloroso. Sin embargo, después del procedimiento, la persona puede notar lo siguiente:

Flatulencias dolorosas.
Sangrado rectal, especialmente si obtuvieron muestras del tejido o si se le removieron pólipos.
Somnoliencia si la anestesia fue utilizada. En este caso el/la paciente debe ser llevado a casa por otra persona.

El doctor normalmente platicará con la persona después del procedimiento sobre lo que el o ella halló. Si muestras del tejido o pólipos son removidos, podría tomar días para obtener los resultados. Estos resultados serán discutidos en la cita de seguimiento.

¿Después, qué ocurre en casa?
Alguien debe llamar al consultorio si hay algun signo o problema después del procedimiento, como:

Aumento de molestia abdominal.
Fiebre y escalofrios.
Frecuentes deposiciones sangrientas.
Hinchazón severo e incapacidad para eliminar flatulencias.

There is a small risk of bleeding or infection. In rare cases, a small hole can be created in the intestine. This may need to be treated with antibiotics or sometimes surgery. You may also have an allergic reaction to medications given for relaxation.