Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy: Examining the Digestive Tract
Sigmoidoscopy allows your doctor to get a detailed look at the last one-third of your large intestine, including your rectum and the lower part of your colon. Colonoscopy gives your doctor a clear view of your entire large intestine, from the rectum all the way up through the colon to the lower part of the small intestine.
As a screening procedure for colorectal cancer, your doctor may recommend that one of these procedures be performed once every 3-5 years beginning at age 50. If you are at high risk for colorectal cancer, the procedure may be performed earlier, beginning at age 35. Your doctor may also recommend it as a follow-up if he or she found any abnormalities during a digital (finger) rectal examination, or if a fecal occult blood test has come back positive.
In this procedure, the flexible, lubricated scope is inserted into the rectum to observe your lower digestive tract or threaded up into your colon to visualize any abnormalities higher up in your large intestine. Your doctor may also take a stool sample or tissue biopsy from your bowel.
Conditions Which May Be Identified:
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- Colorectal cancer
- Abnormal bleeding
- Muscle spasms