Flexible sigmoidoscopy involves a detailed examination of the large intestine. This includes the area from the rectum through the sigmoid or descending colon. This procedure can be useful in diagnosing the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation. The doctor can find any symptoms such as bleeding, inflammation, abnormal growths, and ulcers. A light tube will be inserted into your rectum once you have laid on your left side. This tube is known as a sigmoidoscope. This transmits an image of the rectum and colon to a monitor for the physician to review. Air is blown into the monitored organs so they will inflate and be more visible. If a polyp or inflamed tissue is detected, they will be removed through instruments installed on the sigmoidoscope. The extracted tissue will be sent to a lab for testing. Sigmoidoscopy can cause complications such as bleeding and colon puncture, but these are uncommon. The procedure takes up to 20 minutes. You may experience pressure and a slight cramp in your abdomen. This feeling will dissipate once the air leaves the colon. To prepare for sigmoidoscopy, drink only clear fluids 12-24 hours before the treatment. An enema may be provided the night before the procedure to rinse the intestines. To learn more about sigmoidoscopy, contact our office for an appointment.