Sigmoidoscopy is an internal exploratory examination of the beginning of the rectum and the last part of the colon. The doctor uses an endoscope, which is inserted through the anus. This allows the doctor to detect or exclude any defects. Sigmoidoscopy is a type of endoscopy.


Sigmoidoscopy can be used in case of persistent vague intestinal symptoms, especially in the left lower abdomen, or in case of blood loss. Thus, any defects in the last part of the large intestine can be detected, such as inflammations, ulcers, bleeding, narrowings, diverticulata (bulges), polyps and tumors.


The endoscope is a flexible tube of about one centimeter in diameter. At the end of the tube, there is a small light and a camera. The light ensures that the doctor has good vision and can see the inside of the intestine well. The camera is connected to a monitor, on which the doctor can follow the examination. An endoscope for an intestinal examination is also called a sigmoidoscope.


If so agreed, a sedative is administered to the patient via an infusion in the treatment room. The patient then turns on the left side with the knees drawn up. The doctor inserts the endoscope through the anus. For a clear view of the intestines, the doctor blows some air (nowadays often carbon dioxide) into the intestines with the endoscope. This may cause some cramping. If necessary, the doctor can take a tissue sample (biopsy) from the mucosa during the sigmoidoscopy for further investigation. Taking a biopsy is not painful, but can cause some bleeding. The examination takes 10 minutes.