If you’re having digestive issues like rectal bleeding, flexible sigmoidoscopy can help diagnose the cause. At his clinic in Novato, California, Mark Bazalgette, M.D., brings more than 30 years of experience as a proctologist to the men and women in the community. To schedule a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam with the only colorectal surgeon in the area, call Dr. Bazalgette or schedule an appointment online today.
During a flexible sigmoidoscopy exam, Dr. Bazalgette evaluates the lowest part of your colon using a thin, flexible tube that he inserts into your rectum.
While similar to a colonoscopy, a flexible sigmoidoscopy requires no advance preparation and can check only the lowest two feet of your large intestine — or sigmoid colon — for irregularities and signs of disease.
Dr. Bazalgette might recommend a flexible sigmoidoscopy to diagnose specific digestive symptoms, like changes in your bowel habits, abdominal pain, or chronic diarrhea.
Flexible sigmoidoscopy is also the fastest and cheapest way to diagnose rectal bleeding, especially if it’s bright red, because Dr. Bazalgette can conduct this test in his office without advanced preparation.
Before flexible sigmoidoscopy, you empty your colon by taking a laxative or using an enema.
During your exam, you lie on your side while Dr. Bazalgette inserts the sigmoidoscope into your anus and passes it into your rectum and colon. As he explores the area, he might inject small amounts of air into your colon to improve the views of its lining. During this portion of your exam, you may feel the urge to have a bowel movement and mild abdominal cramping.
In addition to looking for signs of abnormalities in your rectum and colon, Dr. Bazalgette can also use flexible sigmoidoscopy to take tissue samples (biopsies) for further testing.
This exam takes approximately 15 minutes, though it can take a little longer if you need biopsies. Depending on the results of your screening, Dr. Bazalgette might recommend a full colonoscopy to check your entire colon for issues.
Unlike having a colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy doesn’t require sedation or pain medication, so it doesn’t require any downtime. It’s normal to have some bloating or gas for several hours after your exam, but walking can help. You can expect to resume normal eating and activities immediately.
After having flexible sigmoidoscopy, it’s common to pass small amounts of blood the first time you have a bowel movement.
For more information on flexible sigmoidoscopy, call Dr. Bazalgette or schedule an appointment online today.