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A sigmoidoscopy is a test that lets your doctor look inside the lower part of your colon. The doctor uses a lighted tube called a sigmoidoscope to look for any problems. These include small growths called polyps. They also include cancer, bleeding, and hemorrhoids.
During the test, the doctor can take samples of tissue that can be checked for cancer or other problems. This is called a biopsy. The doctor can also take out polyps.
Before the test, you will need to stop eating solid foods. You also will have an enema or take laxatives to empty your lower colon. This helps your doctor to see inside your colon during the test.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
The preparation for these tests usually involves a thorough cleaning of the lower colon. It must be completely clear of stool (feces). Even a small amount of stool can affect the accuracy of the test.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor, nurse call line, or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and contact your doctor or nurse call line (811 in Alberta) if you have any problems or questions.
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Adaptation Date: 9/21/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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