Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

New Jersey Gastrointestinal Diagnostic Testing

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the rectum and a portion of the colon (large intestine). It is often used to diagnose the cause of gastrointestinal problems, such as abdominal pain and rectal bleeding. Is can also be used to screen for rectal and colon cancer.

Preparing for Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

This procedure can be done with or without sedation. You get to decide whether or not sedation will be used, and your doctor can discuss the pros and cons of each option with you.

If you choose to have sedation, you will need to fast for 6 hours prior to the procedure. Patients who are sedated will not be able to drive for several hours afterward, so you will need someone to drive you home from the hospital or clinic. The sedative should help you drift to sleep before your procedure begins, so if you are feeling nervous about pain or discomfort during the sigmoidoscopy, accepting the sedative could help ease your anxiety.

The Procedure

Whether you are sedated or not, the flexible sigmoidoscopy should not cause any significant pain. The doctor will insert the scope through the rectum and into the colon. You may feel bloated or cramping while this is happening. This procedure only lasts about 15 minutes, and you will be able to return home not long after it has concluded.

If polyps are discovered, your doctor will likely recommend you return for a colonoscopy at a later date. Polyps can be precancerous, and removing them is an important step in preventing colorectal cancer.

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