Rigid sigmoidoscopy is often used in investigating Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So when your doctor thinks you might have the condition they may help confirm this by doing this test. It's an endoscopic test to assess the rectum, or very low part of your large bowel.
This is a useful tool to look for any evidence of Colitis (inflamed colon) that can sometimes mimic IBS. Other pathologies such as polyps or even cancer can also be observed too. Remember, this test only looks at the rectum, so your doctor may advise more extensive tests of your bowel.
The instrument comprises of a hollow tube (either plastic or metal, usually about 25cms long with an inner tube for insertion through the anus (back passage). It has a light source to illuminate the rectum and a pump to inflate it with air.
To perform the test, you will be asked to lay on your left hand side in the 'foetal' position (legs bent into your tummy).The tube is lubricated with a jelly and passed through the back passage (anus) into the rectum. Air is then introduced to inflate the rectum.
The test can be a little bit uncomfortable and may give you a feeling of wanting to open your bowels as it stretches the bowel wall. This wall has nerves in it that normally fire off impulses to the brain when you need to go to the toilet.
Biopsies or samples of tissue can be taken for analysis when you have your test,
The rigid sigmoidoscopy test is very safe although you may get a bit of bleeding especially when biopsies have been taken.
Fortunately, it is rare for the bleeding to be heavy or to cause any perforation (punching a hole in the lining).
This test has the advantage that a diagnosis can usually be made immediately when you are seen in the clinic and is often done without any specific preparation, although some doctors may advise a suppository or enema beforehand. Any biopsies will need to be sent to the laboratory for analysis so the diagnosis maybe delayed.
Sigmoidoscopy in Irritable Bowel Syndrome is clearly an important aid to diagnosis.
Having learn't about rigid sigmoidoscopy, there are other pages that may interest you and I have provided some quick links for you below:
Causes of Rectal Bleeding - learn causes for bleeding
About CT colonography - Find out about CT examination of the colon
Flexible Sigmoidoscopy - Find out about flexible sigmoidoscopy
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