Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Preparing for a sigmoidoscopy

If you normally take iron tablets, codeine phosphate or medicines that bulk out your faeces, such as ispaghula husk, you will probably be asked to stop taking them for up to two weeks before the procedure. If you normally take other medicines, such as tablets for high blood pressure or diabetes, continue to take these as usual unless your doctor specifically tells you not to. If you're unsure about any medicine you're taking, ask your doctor.

For your doctor to be able to see your bowel clearly, your bowel needs to be completely empty. To help empty your bowel you may be given a strong laxative to take, or you may be given an enema (a fluid which you inject into your back passage) to use before you come into hospital. You will be given instructions on how and when to do this. You can eat and drink normally until you have the enema and after that you should drink clear fluids only. If you have difficulty giving yourself an enema at home it can be given just before the procedure.

You will be asked to sign a consent form. This confirms that you understand the risks, benefits and possible alternatives to the procedure, and have given your permission for it to go ahead.

You will probably be in hospital for between one and two hours.

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