Doctors use flexible sigmoidoscopy to test the inner lining of the rectum and the lower part of the colon. It’s used to test patients for rectal cancer or colon cancer. The test can also be used to check for ulcers, abnormal cells, and polyps. Patients are usually given this test after complaining of rectal bleeding, abdominal pains, and alterations in bowel habits.
To perform the procedure, doctors use a sigmoidoscope, a long, flexible tube approximately half an inch in diameter. It has a light and a camera which are used to view the lining of the rectum.
Depending on your medical history or your family history of colorectal cancer, you will need to undergo flexible sigmoidoscopy every five years once you reach the age of 50.
Pros and Cons of Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Some of the benefits of flexible sigmoidoscopy:
Some of the cons of flexible sigmoidoscopy include:
Alternatives to Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
There are some alternatives available to flexible sigmoidoscopy depending on your symptoms, as well as your general health, and these alternatives include:
What to Expect During Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
Dr. Gurunath Reddy, a well-known Digestive and Liver Disease Consultant from Txgidocs.com, an affiliate of United Surgical Partners International (USPI), notes: “This is an outpatient procedure which takes roughly five to fifteen minutes. It may be uncomfortable, but should not be painful, and you won’t need to stay in the hospital after it is complete.”
You will be asked to lie on your left-hand side with your legs bent. The doctor will gently examine your back passage with a gloved finger. After that, the doctor will insert the sigmoidoscope by using some jelly to make the procedure as comfortable as possible. Most patients do not require a sedative to relax, though if you do you will be unable to drive for the next 24 hours.