Flexible sigmoidoscopy

If you’re 50 or over, the American Cancer Society recommends having this test every 3 to 5 years.

Flexible sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that is used to view the lower colon. This test can screen for colon cancer. It can also help find the source of abdominal pain, bleeding, and a change in bowel habits. A flexible tube with a viewing lens and light is used for this purpose.


•Obtain 2 fleet enemas and milk of magnesia (These items may be purchased over the counter in your pharmacy)
• The day before the procedure please take two tablespoons of milk of magnesia at 3:00 pm. On the day of the procedure take one fleet enema 1 hour before your scheduled procedure. Take the second fleet enema ½ hour before your scheduled procedure.
•Do not eat or drink anything for five (5) hours prior to your procedure. Please call
our office if you have any questions.

During the Test

• The test is done in the doctor’s office or in a hospital. endoscopy unit. You may wear a gown or a drape over your lower body.
• The procedure takes 15 minutes or longer.
• The doctor performs a digital rectal exam to check for anal and rectal problems.
• The rectum is lubricated and the scope inserted.
• You may feel as if you have to have a bowel movement during the test. Do not be alarmed. It’s okay to pass some gas during the procedure to get relief.

After the Test

• Usually you’ll discuss the results with your doctor right away unless you’re having other tests.
• Try to pass all the gas right after the test. Otherwise, you may have to bloat and cramping.
• After the test you can go back to your normal eating and other activities.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call if you have any of the following after the procedure:

  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Excessive rectal bleeding (slight bleeding or spotting is okay).



Through the scope, the doctor can see the inside of the lower colon and locate problems such as polyps.