Sigmoidoscopy is well tolerated by the vast majority of people. This procedure is usually done in a doctor's office without the need for any anesthesia or sedation.
- Your doctor may require you to use a strong laxative (called a bowel cleanser) to clear your bowel of fecal contents before sigmoidoscopy. Several medications are available for bowel cleansing, including polyethylene glycol 3350 (GoLYTELY, NuLYTELY), magnesium citrate, (Citroma), and senna (X-Prep). These medications produce diarrhea, which can be uncomfortable, but unless the bowel is empty of stool, the test can be limited and may need to be repeated at a later date. Your doctor may also require a special diet, such as a clear liquid diet, starting 1-2 days before your scheduled sigmoidoscopy.
- Some people also need to use an enema (liquid is forced into the colon through the anus) before bedtime.
- The next day, you may take your normal medications.
- About 1 hour before the procedure is to begin, you will need to have an enema. The clear diet and enema help clear the intestine so your doctor can see well.
Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM
Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD
Thomas Rebbecchi, MD, FAAEM
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