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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Board Certified Physician
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 35528
Experience:  20 yrs. in practice, includinge surgery, general medicine, addiction medicine and pain.
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Can you advise me on the risks associated with Flexible Sigmoidoscopy,

Customer Question

Can you advise me on the risks associated with Flexible Sigmoidoscopy, in particular the risk of damage to the lining of the bowel.
My symptoms are occasional passing of a little blood in the stools, about once a month, which my doctor thinks may have been caused by radiotherapy undertaken a few years ago for prostate cancer. Thus there may be some damage to the bowel, and obviously I do not want that damage exacerbated by further invasion. Equally obviously, I need to know what is causing the ocassional bleeding, but would another treatment be less risky but equally effective, such as a barium enema ?
I have no discomfort or pain at the moment.

Thank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. Chip replied 3 years ago.
Hi. I understand your concern here and while a barium enema is less invasive it won't pick up things like colon polyps unless they're large and it won't take a good look at the lining of the sigmoid colon in case you have ischemic colitis from the radiation therapy and so the sigmoidoscopy would be best and if there are polyps they can be removed with the scope. Done properly and slowly there isn't much risk of damaging the wall of the colon with the scope. You definitely need the procedure and I'm sure you'll get through it just fine.