Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Instructions
Flexible sigmoidoscopy allows our doctors to examine the lining of your rectum and a portion of your colon. For this procedure, he inserts a flexible tube about the thickness of your finger into your anus, slowly advancing it into your rectum and the lower end of the colon. Your rectum and lower colon must be completely empty for the procedure so our doctors can get accurate results.
- Obtain two (2) Fleet Enemas at any drug store (no prescription needed).
- Do not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to your scheduled appointment.
- Use the first enema 2 hours prior to leaving your home (follow package directions).
- Use the second enema ½ hour after the first enema.
You can continue to take most of your medications as usual. Inform your doctor about medications you’re taking, in particular: aspirin products, anti-coagulants (blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin), or clopidogrel.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy Results
If your doctor sees an area in your colon or rectum that needs further evaluation, they might take a biopsy — a tissue sample — to be analyzed later. Retrieving a biopsy does not cause pain or discomfort. Since biopsies are useful for identifying many conditions, the doctor might take one even if they don’t suspect cancer. If our doctor finds polyps, they might take a biopsy of them as well. Polyps, abnormal growths from the lining of your colon, vary in size and type. Polyps known as “hyperplastic” may not have to be removed, but other benign polyps known as “adenomas” have a higher risk of becoming cancerous. Our doctors likely will ask you to have a colonoscopy — a complete examination of your colon — to remove large polyps or any small adenomas.
Recovering from a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Your doctor will discuss the results after your procedure, although you may have to wait for any biopsy results. You might feel some bloating or mild cramping because air leaked into your colon during the examination. These symptoms pass quickly. You can eat and drink without restrictions after the procedure. If you received a sedative, you’ll be held for observation while the sedative wears off. Then you must have a responsible friend or family member drive you home and stay with you for a few hours.