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Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County -  - Gastroenterologist

Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County

Gastroenterologists located in Irvine, CA & Other Orange County Locations

You might need to undergo a sigmoidoscopy if you have specific symptoms of conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or colorectal cancer. The board-certified gastroenterology team at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County in California has considerable expertise in carrying out sigmoidoscopies and treating any bowel problems they find. Call the Irvine, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Foothill Ranch, and Mission Viejo, California office today or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment.


What is a sigmoidoscopy?

Sigmoidoscopy is a procedure that you might need to undergo if you have symptoms of colorectal cancer or inflammation and ulceration in your rectum and lower (sigmoid) colon.

These worrisome symptoms include:

  • Rectal bleeding
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Passing pus or mucus in your stool
  • Unexplained weight loss

The Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County team also uses flexible sigmoidoscopy to screen for polyps in your rectum and lower colon. Screening detects colorectal cancer at an early stage when there's a much better chance of treating it successfully.

Who should undergo a screening sigmoidoscopy?

Your provider at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County can advise you whether you need to undergo a sigmoidoscopy for screening purposes. The indicators for screening below the age of 50 include:

  • Having a family history of polyps or colorectal cancer
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Being a smoker

If you're at risk, your provider might recommend a colonoscopy, which is a similar procedure to a sigmoidoscopy. The difference is that with a colonoscopy, your provider can see the entire length of your large intestine rather than just the lower section.

How do I prepare for a sigmoidoscopy?

Before your sigmoidoscopy, you need to clean out your bowel by following the instructions your provider at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County gives you. This typically involves drinking large quantities of laxative powder dissolved in water the day before your procedure.

The preparation does cause diarrhea, so you should stay near a convenient toilet. Passing large volumes of liquid stool can be uncomfortable, but if your bowel isn't totally clean and empty, your provider won't get a clear image during the procedure.

You also need to follow the instructions regarding what it's safe to eat and drink before your sigmoidoscopy.

What happens during a sigmoidoscopy?

To perform a sigmoidoscopy, your provider at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County passes a slender, flexible instrument (a sigmoidoscope) into your rectum through your anus.

The sigmoidoscope has a light and a tiny camera on it. As it goes up your rectum and into your colon, the instrument pumps in air to expand the bowel and provide a clearer view. It relays the images of the lining of your rectum and lower colon to a screen in the treatment room.

A flexible sigmoidoscopy takes around 20 minutes to complete. The procedure shouldn't be painful, and most patients don't require anesthesia, but you might like to have a sedative. If your provider sees any areas of inflammation, they take a biopsy for laboratory analysis. They can also remove any polyps that they find.

Once your sigmoidoscopy is complete, you can eat and drink normally, although because of being sedated, you’ll need someone else to drive you home after the procedure.

For more information, call Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County today or book an appointment online.