• Light evening meal, no greasy foods, no dairy products and only small portions of food (chicken-rice soup, plain jello and fruit juices are suggested).
  • 6:00 pm take 2 Ducolax tablets (you do not need prescription).
  • 7:00 pm drink a 10 oz. Bottle of magnesium citrate (you do not need a prescription).
  • Drink plenty of clear liquids throughout the evening.
  • You are to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Please check with your physician concerning any medications you are presently taking, including aspirin.
  • Use 2 fleets enemas (20 minutes apart before you come for the exam).
  • Please leave jewelry and other valuable at home or with a relative or friend.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent from authorizing the physician to do the procedure. The principal risks of this procedure are perforation and bleeding. These complications rarely occur.
  • Please wear comfortable, loose clothing. You will be able to change into a hospital gown. Please empty your bladder before the nurse takes you into the examination room. Your blood pressure and pulse will be recorded.
  • It is not necessary to have someone drive you for the test, as sedation is generally not necessary. However, if sedation would be recommended, a friend or relative must drive you home.

What is a Flexible Sigmoidoscopy?

A flexible sigmoidoscopy allows your physician to view the inside of the rectum and sigmoid, the first part of the colon. The American Cancer Society recommends that everyone over the age of 50 should have this procedure as part of their physical examination.

Preparation for Sigmoidoscopy

The rectum and sigmoid colon must be empty at the time of the examination. Please follow preparation instructions exactly, which will be given to you and explained by the physician or his nurse.


If you have not already done so you will have an opportunity to discuss this procedure with your physician or nurse. You will be asked if you are allergic to any medications. You will also be asked to remove dentures and/or glasses if applicable. Sedation is rarely required during this examination, but if your physician would recommend it, I.V. sedation would be given at this time. You will be lying on your left side during the procedure. Your physician will gently insert a lubricated gloved finger inside the rectum for a digital examination. A lubricated sigmoidoscope is then gently inserted and the physician examines the wall of the colon. During this procedure, cultures, smears and biopsies (taking a tiny bit of tissue) may be performed. There may be slight discomfort due to the advancement of the sigmoidoscope or from air insertion. This discomfort does not last long.


Your blood pressure and pulse will be recorded. Your physician will then discuss the results of the examination with you. 


When you return home you may resume your regular diet unless instructed otherwise. If your procedure is being performed at one of the area hospitals, please call to pre-register one to two days prior to your procedure. Pre-registration of your insurance information will avoid delays the day of your procedure. The telephone number is listed with the designated hospital.