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DefinitionA flexible sigmoidoscopy is a visual exam of the rectum and lower portion of the colon (large intestine). The exam is done with a tool called a flexible sigmoidoscope. The sigmoidoscope is a flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end. This instrument allows the doctor to see inside your rectum and colon.
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Reasons for ProcedureFlexible sigmoidoscopy is used to examine and diagnose problems inside your rectum and lower colon. The procedure is most often done to:
- Obtain tissue samples for testing
- Identify the cause of rectal bleeding, diarrhea , constipation , lower abdominal pain, or inflammation
- Detect the presence of or remove polyps—small growths than can turn cancerous
- Monitor response to treatment if you have inflammatory bowel disease
- Screen for colorectal cancer
Possible ComplicationsComplications are rare. But no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have a sigmoidoscopy, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
- Perforation or puncture of the bowel wall
- Pre-existing heart or kidney condition
- Treatment with certain medications, including aspirin and other drugs with anticoagulant or blood-thinning properties
- Prior abdominal surgery or radiation therapy