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Sigmoidoscopy: Necessity, Preparation, Results


It is a procedure by which the doctor views the lower 20 inches of the colon or the large intestine called as the sigmoid colon and rectum. It is also called as flexible sigmoidoscopy.

When is sigmoidoscopy recommended?

These scans are recommended by doctors in the following cases:
1. The patient is older than 50 years and has no risk of colon cancer other than old age (average risk). It is recommended every five years to screen for colon cancer.
2. There are changes in bowel habits.
3. There is rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, or unexplained weight loss as these could be signs of colon diseases.

This scan is a procedure to determine the cause of the above symptoms.
Preparing for sigmoidoscopy.
1. It is likely to use one or more enemas approximately 2 hours before the scan.
2. A clear liquid diet for 1-3 days before the scan is to be followed. A powder laxative might be given to mix with a fluid such as tea, water, gelatin, or plain coffee to empty the intestines.
3. The doctor should know about the medical history or the present medical condition and the supplements and medicines taken by the patient.
Understanding sigmoidoscopy results.

- Negative result: The result is considered negative if the doctor doesn't find any abnormalities in the colon.
- Positive result: The result is considered positive if the doctor finds polyps or abnormal tissue in the colon. Depending on the findings, there may be needed additional testing such as a colonoscopy to examine any abnormalities thoroughly.

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