Thursday, April 28, 2011

sigmoidoscopy - Preparation and after wards points

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.

About the procedure

A sigmoidoscopy usually takes between 10 and 15 minutes. It may feel uncomfortable, but shouldn't be painful. If you agree to it, you may be given a sedative before the procedure. This relieves anxiety and helps you to relax. It is given as an injection into a vein in your hand or arm. However, usually you won't need a sedative for this procedure.

You may be asked to put on a gown that opens at the back. While you're resting on your side, your doctor will gently examine your back passage with a gloved finger and then carefully insert the sigmoidoscope into your rectum. Lubricating jelly will be used to make this as easy as possible.

Air is then usually pumped through the sigmoidoscope into your lower bowel to make it expand and to make the bowel wall easier to see. This can cause stomach cramps. It is normal if you get an urge to go to the toilet or pass wind.

A camera lens at the end of the sigmoidoscope sends pictures from the inside of your bowel to a monitor. Your doctor will look at these images. If necessary, your doctor will take a biopsy and/or remove any polyps you have. This is done using special instruments passed inside the sigmoidoscope and shouldn't cause you any pain.

What to expect after wards

If you haven't had a sedative you will be able to go home when you feel ready. If you have had a sedative you may need to stay a little longer and you will have your blood pressure and pulse taken to monitor your recovery.

Before you leave, your doctor or nurse may explain what was seen inside your bowel during the procedure. If you have had a biopsy or polyps removed, the results will be ready several days later and will usually be sent in a report to the doctor who requested your test.

If you haven't had a sedative you may drive home if you wish. If you have had a sedative someone will need to come and collect you. Sedation temporarily affects your coordination and reasoning skills, so you must not drive, drink alcohol, operate machinery or sign legal documents for 24 hours afterwards. If you're in doubt about driving please contact your motor insurer so that you're aware of their recommendations, and always follow your doctor's advice.

Once home, it's sensible to take it easy for the rest of the day. Most people feel able to resume normal activities on the following day.

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