Flexible sigmoidoscopy enables the physician to look at the inside of the large intestine from the rectum through the last part of the colon, called the sigmoid or descending colon with the use of an endoscope. This examination is typically used to evaluate complaints of rectal bleeding, constipation, diarrhea and pain in the left lower quadrant or pelvis.

It is important for your doctor to have a clear view of your colon during the examination, you will be given instructions from your physician as to the preparation to use prior to the examination.

The examination is a quick procedure with minimal complications. Usually, patients are not sedated for this procedure. During the procedure you may experience the sensations you feel prior to a bowel movement. You will be asked to lie on your left side on the examining table. The physician will insert a short, flexible, lighted tube into your rectum and slowly guide it into your colon. The tube is called a sigmoidoscope. The scope has a camera on the distal tip which enables the physician to carefully examine the lining of your colon. If anything unusual is in your rectum or sigmoid colon, such as a polyp or inflamed tissue, the physician can remove a sample using an instrument inserted into the scope. The tissue can then be sent to the lab for evaluation. .

Flexible sigmoidoscopy takes 10 to 20 minutes. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is usually well tolerated and rarely causes much pain. There is often a feeling of pressure, bloating, or cramping at various times during the procedure and for a short period after the procedure.

Bleeding and puncture of the colon are possible complications of flexible sigmoidoscopy. However, such complications are uncommon.

Most medications can be continued as usual. You should inform your physician if you are taking blood thinners or if you require antibiotics prior to undergoing dental procedures.