The colon absorbs nutrients and water from the consumed food. Moreover, it is the organ where the stool forms. The last section of the colon, which is closest to the rectum and anus, is known as the sigmoid colon. When something happens to the colon or specifically the sigmoid colon, a medical procedure called Sigmoidoscopy is performed. The doctor closely examines the sigmoid colon to figure out the cause of the issue. Some of the common problems that can be deducted through the procedure include inflammatory bowel disease, swollen tissues, and ulcerative colitis.
Description of Sigmoidoscopy
Sigmoidoscopy is considered less invasive when compared to colonoscopy. It is also known to be a flexible procedure in which the doctor places a flexible and thin tube from the anus and gently pushes it inside through the rectum till the lower section of the colon. Through this, the internal structure can be seen on their monitor. The procedure is known to be completely safe.
Who Needs a Sigmoidoscopy?
Anyone who suffers from constant abdominal pain, bowel changes, sudden weight loss, and even rectal bleeding may have to go through the procedure to ascertain the cause. These are generally considered the signs of colon diseases, and this procedure will identify so that the doctors can move ahead with the treatment.
Who Performs a Sigmoidoscopy?
Only a surgeon or a specialized doctor performs this procedure. However, a nurse, physician assistant, and practice doctor will be there to assist the doctor.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
Sigmoidoscopy takes only 15 to 20 minutes, and there is no need to stay at the hospital. The doctor will ask you to lie down on the left and gently insert a thin tube or sigmoidoscope through your anus that has a tiny camera and a light to capture the images. The images then are displayed on the monitor, from where the doctor examines and discerns what the issue is. It doesn’t hurt but there could be slight discomfort. Moreover, the doctor will not sedate the patient as they might be asked to move or shift to get the right pictures.
How to Prepare for Sigmoidoscopy?
Before scheduling the appointment, your doctor might ask you to do the following.
- ● The doctor may ask you certain questions about your medical history. For instance, if you take any drugs or supplements. In case you do, you will be asked to stop taking them for a day before the procedure is scheduled.
- ● You will be asked to fast for 24 hours till the procedure and may allow only liquids during that time. However, you can consume strained juice of any fruit, black coffee, and broth.
- ● You will be asked to wear a gown at the hospital.
- ● You will be required to lower your colon before visiting the doctor. The doctor may prescribe you a laxative or an enema. It is usually a pill that needs to be taken with water.
- ● Let the doctor know if you have any allergies or are taking any medicines for the same.
What Happens After the Procedure?
Experiencing cramping and bloating are pretty common after the procedure. However, in case you experience severe pain in the abdomen, fever, blood in the stool, or dizziness—it is advised that you visit your doctor.
What Is Known Through a Sigmoidoscopy?
A Sigmoidoscopy procedure might help to figure out if there are any chances of colon cancer. In case any signs or symptoms are discovered, the doctor can begin with the medicines and treatments so that the condition doesn’t get any worse.
Are There Any Risks of the Procedure?
The majority of the time, there are no risks associated with the procedure. However, very few may experience perforation or bleeding when the tissue sample is collected for further examination.
What Are the Results of the Procedure?
There could be either positive or negative results of Sigmoidoscopy.
- ● In case it is negative, it means that there were no kinds of abnormality in your colon. It also means there are no risks related to colon cancer. However, if you are above 50 years of age, your doctor may ask you to take another Sigmoidoscopy after 5 years.
- ● If the result is positive, it means your doctor has identified abnormal tissues or polyps in your colon. Based on the results, a colonoscopy may or may not be recommended. A colonoscopy helps to screen the colon entirely to see if there are any abnormalities.
Is Sigmoidoscopy Painful?
Usually, the procedure is not painful; however, there might be slight discomfort when it is being done. In case the doctor removes some tissue for further examination or biopsy, then a pinch of pain might be experienced. But the patients might be able to perform their regular activities after the procedure.
What is the Rate of Accuracy of Sigmoidoscopy?
Based on the clinical consultation with certain doctors who perform the procedure, they have stated that there is 56.6% positivity to find if there are any abnormalities or not. Moreover, they can identify any signs of polyps and even colorectal cancer through this procedure.
How Much Time Does it Take to Get the Reports of Sigmoidoscopy?
It usually takes a couple of weeks to get the results. Either they are sent to you by mail or you may have to collect them from the clinic, and visit the doctor for further consultation.
When is the Enema Given Before the Sigmoidoscopy?
Usually, the enema is given two hours before the procedure. In case there is a requirement for another enema, it is given one hour before the procedure. It is advised that you visit the doctor’s clinic a couple of hours before the scheduled procedure.
Do you Feel Discomfort After the Procedure?
Normally, there is slight discomfort and pain in the abdomen after the procedure. However, if you have intolerable pain, then you may let your doctor know about it.