Flexible sigmoidoscopy; Sigmoidoscopy - flexible; Proctoscopy; Proctosigmoidoscopy; Rigid sigmoidoscopy; Colon cancer sigmoidoscopy; Colorectal sigmoidoscopy; Rectal sigmoidoscopy; Gastrointestinal bleeding - sigmoidoscopy; Rectal bleeding - sigmoidoscopy; Melena - sigmoidoscopy; Blood in stool - sigmoidoscopy; Polyps - sigmoidoscopy
Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure used to see inside the sigmoid colon and rectum. The sigmoid colon is the area of the large intestine nearest to the rectum.
During the test:
Sigmoidoscopy using a rigid scope may be done to treat problems of the anus or rectum.
Your health care provider will tell you how to prepare for the exam. You will use an enema to empty your bowels. This is usually done 1 hour before the sigmoidoscopy.
On the morning of the procedure, eat a light breakfast.
During the exam you may feel:
After the test, your body will pass the air that was put into your colon.
Children may be given medicine to make them sleep lightly (sedated) for this procedure.
Your doctor may recommend this test to look for the cause of:
This test can also be used to:
A normal test result will show no problems with the color, texture, and size of the lining of the sigmoid colon, rectal mucosa, rectum, and anus.
There is a slight risk of bowel perforation (tearing a hole) and bleeding at the biopsy sites. The overall risk is very small.
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US Preventive Services Task Force, Bibbins-Domingo K, Grossman DC, et al. Screening for colorectal cancer: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2016;315(23):2564-2575. PMID: 27304597
Vargo JJ. Preparation for and complications of GI endoscopy. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 41.
Last reviewed on: 8/1/2015
Reviewed by: Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Internal review and update on 09/01/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.