Flexible Sigmoidoscopy by a Nurse Practioner
You have been scheduled for a flexible sigmoidoscopy at:
UW Health Digerstive Health Center
750 University Row
You will be having a flexible sigmoidoscopy, also called a “procto”. During this test, the lower portion of your colon (bowel) will be checked with a flexible tube called an endoscope. This handout will tell you how to prepare for the test. If you have any questions, please call your doctor or the clinic staff between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.
These items can be purchased at any drugstore. If you cannot locate them, ask the pharmacist.
One 10 ounce bottle of MAGNESIUM CITRATE (not milk of magnesia)
One saline enema, Fleets® or generic brand (not an ORAL laxative)
The Afternoon or Evening before the Exam
Drink the full bottle of magnesium citrate. Please keep in mind that the magnesium citrate will give you loose stools and some cramping. The time it takes to start working depends on the person. It could take from 30 minutes or up to eight hours to work. You may have frequent bowel movements for up to 10 hours after drinking it.
The Day of Your Exam
1. You may eat a light breakfast and light lunch. Drink plenty of fluids.
2. If you're on any medicine, take it as usual. This includes insulin.
3. You will need to give yourself a saline enema (i.e. Fleets®) about one
hour before you plan to leave for the exam. Give it slowly. Try to hold
it in for 5-10 minutes before going to the bathroom to expel it. You
may feel some waves of cramping within 5 minutes. If you can let the
urge pass (by squeezing the anal sphincter), you will be able to hold
the enema longer.
This helps clean out the bowel, and the nurse practitioner can inspect
the bowel better through the scope.
At the Clinic
- Once at the clinic, check in with the front desk.
- A nurse will take you back to a room and talk with you about the exam and what to expect during and after the exam. The nurse will answer any questions that you may have.
- The nurse practitioner will then do the exam. During the exam, you may feel some cramping. This usually lasts only a short time. The exam itself will take about 10 -15 minutes.
- After the exam, the doctor or the nurse practitioner will talk with you about the results.
- Plan to be at the clinic for about 45 minutes for the entire visit.
After the Exam
- You may pass air and liquid for a short time after the exam (up to an hour). This is normal.
- Even though you will leave the clinic, you may want to stay near a bathroom or ask the nurse for a pad to wear, especially if you need to travel.
For Further Questions
Digestive Health Center, 8am to 5pm weekdays, (608) 890-5000.
After clinic hours, please call (608) 890-5000. Give your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
If you live outside of the Madison area, please call 1-855-342-9900.
UW Health Digestive Health Center
750 University Row
University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics
GI Procedure Clinic
600 Highland Avenue
The Spanish version of this Health Facts for You is #6519.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/24/2013
Copyright © 04/11/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4317
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