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Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure in which a doctor looks in your large intestine. A length of flexible tube connected to a fiberoptic camera is used. A light is transmitted through the scope to the tip by a bundle of light fibers. The doctor uses this light to look at your intestine through an eyepiece or video screen.

  • Your doctor may do this very safe procedure for several reasons.
    1. Sigmoidoscopy is the best way to diagnose colon cancer the second most common cause of cancer death in the United States.
    2. This procedure may also be used to help investigate problems such as bleeding, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.

How to Prepare for a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy ?

To prepare for a flexible sigmoidoscopy, one or more enemas are performed about 2 hours before the procedure to remove all solids from the sigmoid colon. An enema is performed by flushing water, laxative, or sometimes a mild soap solution into the anus using a special wash bottle.

In some cases, the entire gastrointestinal tract must be emptied by following a clear liquid diet for 1 to 3 days before the procedure similar to the preparation for colonoscopy. Patients should not drink beverages containing red or purple dye. Acceptable liquids include

  • fat-free bouillon or broth
  • strained fruit juice
  • water
  • plain coffee
  • plain tea
  • sports drinks, such as Gatorade
  • gelatin