Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

A flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that 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 colon. Physicians use this procedure to find the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain or constipation. They also use sigmoidoscopy to look for early signs of cancer in the colon and rectum. With sigmoidoscopy, the physician can see bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths and ulcers.

The Procedure

This procedure is conducted while you lie on your left side.

  • The physician will insert a short, flexible, lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope, into the rectum
  • The sigmoidoscope is slowly guided through the colon
  • The physician places air through the sigmoidoscope, opening the folds of the colon, helping the physician see better


Images of the inside of the colon and rectum are transmitted to a monitor, allowing for a thorough examination of both organs.

Preparing For Your Appointment

Before your appointment, please check in with the receptionist at the location indicated in your pamphlet. You will be asked to change into a patient gown and your medical history will be discussed. At this point, it is important that you inform the nurse if you are allergic to or have particular sensitivities to any medications. After taking your vitals, the nurse will ask you to sign a consent form authorizing the physician to perform the procedure.

After Your Appointment

Patients may experience minor bloating due to the air inserted during the procedure. However, as air is expelled this feeling will fade. Walking, taking a warm bath, drinking warm fluids or lying on your left side with knees drawn up will help you to pass any remaining air in your colon.

Preliminary findings will be discussed with you immediately following the procedure, and a full report will be sent to your personal physician.

After leaving the outpatient center or hospital, you may eat and resume normal activities, as you feel able, unless instructed otherwise.



Biopsy results are usually available in 7-10 business days. At discharge, you will be told how you will receive your results. Your personal physician will also receive a report from the laboratory.