Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy
An endoscopy of the lower part of the digestive tract is called Lower GI scopy. The doctor views the Rectum, the Colon, stomach and the Large intestine during the procedure. The procedure may be used to view the first part of the colon or the sigmoid(Sigmoidoscopy) or the doctor may need to view the entire colon (Colonoscopy).
Sigmoidoscopy and Colonoscopy are minimally invasive screening tests that are used to examine the large intestine and the rectum.
Why is Lower GI scopy performed?
Lower GI scopy is done by the doctor to:
- Collect a tissue sample from the lower digestive tract.
- Find out the cause of abdominal pain
- Identify the exact location of bleeding and treat it (APC).
- Prepare the patient for an Upper GI scopy procedure.
- Check for abnormalities in your intestine.
- To cure few conditions like Polyp-polypectomy
What is Sigmoidoscopy?
The colon absorbs water and other nutrients from the food. Formation of stool takes place here. After the absorption of water. The lower part of the colon is known as the Sigmoid colon. During the colonoscopy, the doctor examines the whole colon, but sometimes the doctor needs to examine only the sigmoid colon. In such cases, a sigmoidoscopy is suggested to the patient.
A fiberoptic camera is attached to the end of a thin flexible tube and inserted inside the body to examine the inner lining of the sigmoid colon. Patients who are suffering from any of the following are advised to undergo Sigmoidoscopy:
- Abnormal cells
Sigmoidoscopy generally takes 20-30 minutes unless some complications require further investigation.
When do doctors recommend Sigmoidoscopy?
Doctors recommend Sigmoidoscopy to find the cause of the following symptoms:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Severe abdominal pain
- Changed Bowel movements
- Bleeding from the anus.
What is Colonoscopy?
Colonoscopy is used to examine the entire colon which is the lowest portion of the gastrointestinal tract. It is attached to the anus through the rectum.
Colonoscopy is used to check out symptoms such as:
- Colorectal Polyps
- Inflammatory Bowel disease
- Abdominal pain
How is Lower GI scopy performed?
Colonoscopy also takes approximately 30 minutes while sigmoidoscopy needs around 20 minutes. A sedating medicine is administered through an IV line during colonoscopy. The endoscope is inserted through the rectum and the images can be viewed on the monitor and recorded for future reference. The doctor may perform biopsy and polyp removal during the procedure. You need to rest for some time after the procedure as there may be some discomfort due to trapped air.
Your doctor generally recommends sigmoidoscopy to explore all possible causes of rectal bleeding, pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, or other problems related to the intestine. This helps him to check for inflammation, ulcers, polyps, etc. However, Sigmoidoscopy is used to examine only a part of the colon, if there are any polyps or cancer farther down the colon it cannot be detected. If the doctor finds some of these, he may ask you to get a colonoscopy done.
How do you prepare yourself for Colonoscopy?
Certain things need to be taken care of before you go in for a colonoscopy. Talk to your doctor about any health problems and medication you might be taking. Don’t forget to mention any supplements and over-the-counter medicines you are taking. You will be given a diet plan to be followed at home for two to three days so that little or no stool remains in your intestine before the procedure. You may also be given laxatives or asked to drink a large number of liquid laxatives in a specific period.
It is important to recognize the early signs of any problem and consult your physician in time to avoid any complications later.