Colitis Home > Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Ulcerative Colitis
One of the tests that can be used to help diagnose ulcerative colitis is a "flexible sigmoidoscopy." Ulcerative colitis diagnosis using a sigmoidoscopy involves inserting a soft, bendable tube with a camera on it into the anus to look at the rectum and part of the large intestine. Using this instrument, the healthcare provider is able to see if the lining of the colon is irritated. Prior to the sigmoidoscopy, the rectum and lower colon must be completely emptied of stool. Otherwise, the test results may not be as accurate.
An Introduction to Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Ulcerative ColitisTo help diagnose ulcerative colitis, your healthcare provider may recommend a procedure called a "flexible sigmoidoscopy." Ulcerative colitis diagnosis using a sigmoidoscopy involves inserting a soft, bendable tube with a camera attached to it through your anus to look at the rectum and part of the large intestine. Your healthcare provider uses this instrument -- which is about the width of your index finger -- to see if the lining of your colon is irritated. During this procedure, a biopsy (a small piece of tissue) may be removed for further study if something doesn't look normal.
Your rectum and lower colon must be completely emptied of stool before the procedure is performed. If the colon still contains waste, your healthcare provider may not be able to clearly see the lining of your intestine and the test results may not be as accurate.
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy and Ulcerative Colitis: RecommendationsUsually, preparing the bowel for a sigmoidoscopy can be done with one or two enemas prior to the procedure. In some cases, however, laxatives or changes in your diet may be recommended. For your own safety, you will be asked not to eat or drink anything for several hours prior to your procedure.
Be sure that you fully understand what you need to do to prepare for this test. It's very important that you follow your healthcare provider's instructions for your specific cleansing routine.
(Click Diagnosing Ulcerative Colitis for more information about sigmoidoscopy and the other tests that may be used to diagnose ulcerative colitis.)