Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure where the physician looks into the rectum and sigmoid colon, which are the last few centimeters of the large intestine/colon using an instrument called a sigmoidoscope.
A sigmoidoscope is a small tube with an attached light source about the thickness of a finger.
An enema is given as a preparation prior to the procedure. It is a solution that is inserted through the anus to empty the distal part of the colon from the stools in order to obtain a clear view.
The scope is introduced through the anus into the rectum and sigmoid colon.
The procedure takes few minutes and is usually done without sedation since it is not painful. Air is gently pumped through the sigmoidoscope to help viewing. This can cause bloating and the patient may feel a need to defecate.
The sigmoidoscopy is done to screen for cancer, to look for causes of bleeding and to follow up on inflammatory diseases of the colon.
Most sigmoidoscopies are done without problems. Some people have abdominal cramps and excess wind after the procedure.