This is an examination of the lower part of the large intestine using a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera on the end.
A sigmoidoscopy is an examination of the lower end of the large intestine (sigmoid colon) and rectum using a thin, flexible lighted tube with a camera on the end.
A diagnostic sigmoidoscopy is performed to check on bowel symptoms (such as pain, persistent diarrhea and rectal bleeding) and to remove abnormal tissue for testing. Before your sigmoidoscopy, talk with your healthcare provide about your medical conditions and all medications you are taking. Do not forget over-the-counter medications, vitamins and supplements. Some of these medicines can interfere with the sigmoidoscopy preparation or the exam. You should ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These include:
The day before your sigmoidoscopy, you will be instructed to drink only clear liquids and take medicine to clean out your bowels. Most people do not require sedation or any form of anesthesia for a sigmoidoscopy.
A diagnostic sigmoidoscopy, one done to check on symptoms or polyps, is not a preventive service and is subject to deductibles and copayments.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having a sigmoidoscopy?
After your procedure, you should know what you had done, what medication was given, and what symptoms you should report to your healthcare provider. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans. Do not forget to arrange for transportation to and from the facility and for help at home. You will not be allowed to drive home, even if you are completely awake.
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