Flexible Sigmoidoscopy

The doctors of Gastroenterology of Southern Indiana must often perform routine procedures for the evaluation and treatment of many digestive tract problems. For detailed information regarding a specific procedure, simply click on the procedure listed below. The information about the following procedures is meant as a reference only and should not be used as diagnostic treatment.


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy


Flexible Sigmoidoscopy is a short procedure, usually performed in the office.  It is commonly used for evaluation of bleeding from the rectum, hemorrhoids, and screening for colon cancer.


Reasons For Exam

Sigmoid Polyp

There are several reasons for a Sigmoidoscopy:

  • Preventative - to detect problems at an early stage
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Rectal pain



The flexible endoscope can be directed and moved around the bends in the lower colon and rectum.  An open channel in the scope allows other instruments to be passed trough it to take tissue samples (biopsies) or to remove polyps.



The benefit of having a Sigmoidoscopy can include the following:

  • It is often possible to determine the specific cause of symptoms.
  • Conditions such as colitis and diverticulosis can be monitored to determine effectiveness of treatment.
  • Polyps and tumors can be discovered at an early stage.


Risks & Side Effects


Bloating and bowel distension are common due to the air inflated into the bowel.  This usually lasts only 30 to 60 minutes.  If biopsies are done or if a polyp is removed, there may be some spotting of blood; however, this is rarely serious.  Other uncommon risks include a diagnostic error or oversight, or a tear (perforation) of the wall of the colon which might require surgery.


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