Your doctor has suggested you have a sigmoidoscopy as part of your evaluation at National Jewish Health. A sigmoidoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the rectum and sigmoid colon using a small flexible tube. The sigmoid colon is the last 1-2 feet of the colon (large intestine) near the rectum. Your doctor may also do a biopsy and remove any polyps (small growths) found inside your rectum or sigmoid colon during the sigmoidoscopy. A biopsy is a small amount of tissue taken from the lining of the colon which can be studied closely to help determine your diagnosis and the best treatment for you.


Preparing for the Test

Your colon will need to be cleaned thoroughly to complete the test. If this is not done, we will need to reschedule the test. Please follow these instructions closely to clean your colon.

Planning ahead:

  • Purchase two 4 ½ oz. Fleet enemas without mineral oil from a grocery store or pharmacy. You do not need a prescription.

The day of the test:

  • One hour before leaving for the sigmoidoscopy use the two enemas. Use one enema right after the other. Keep the liquid from both enemas in for at least five minutes and then go to the bathroom.
  • Check in at the front desk for your scheduled appointment.


During the Test

When you arrive the nurse will explain what will be done before, during and after the sigmoidoscopy. If you have any questions, please ask. You will be monitored closely during the test. You will lie on your side during the sigmoidoscopy. You may feel some pressure and cramping as the tube is passed slowly in the colon. Once the sigmoidoscopy is done you will rest. Your doctor will determine when you are able to go home.


Length of the Test

Plan on being at National Jewish Health for at least 1-2 hours, although sometimes people stay longer.


Day of the Test

On the day of your scheduled test, check in at the Front Desk. If you have questions please call 303.398.1355. Also, if you need to cancel the appointment or change the time please call.


This information has been approved by Jeffrey King, MD (January 2015).