Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
Answers

What is Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

It is used to examine and diagnose problems inside your rectum and lower colon. The procedure is most often done to:

  • Obtain tissue samples for testing
  • Identify the cause of rectal bleeding, diarrhea, constipation, lower abdominal pain, or inflammation
  • Detect the presence of or remove polyps (small growths than can turn cancerous)
  • Monitor response to treatment if you have inflammatory bowel disease
  • Screen for colorectal cancer

Possible Complications

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a sigmoidoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Perforation or puncture of the bowel wall

Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Pre-existing heart or kidney condition
  • Treatment with certain medicines, including aspirin and other drugs with anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties
  • Prior abdominal surgery or radiation treatments

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Bleeding from your rectum—Notify your doctor if you pass a teaspoonful of blood or more.
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Severe abdominal...
 
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