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Sigmoidoscopy Tips | 14 Tips on what to take, and how to prepare.

14 Sigmoidoscopy Tips

From my sigmoidoscopy experience I came away with a lot of sigmoidoscopy tips that I wish I had. I realise there’s a lot of things they don’t tell you, that  they really should. Some may seem like common sense, but it’s really difficult to know what you need after you’ve just going through your prep experience. You just want it to be over with! 

My own sigmoidoscopy – nearly a year ago now, was an anomaly. I won’t go into detail, but thanks to personal reasons it ended up being less than pleasant experience. I can’t praise the staff enough though – they were absolutely amazing. They kept to be calm, asked if they could continue, made sure I had their consent, and they also kept reminding me to keep sucking down gas and air. One stroked my hair to help keep me calm, and I’m a sucker for my hair being played with in any way. 

Pre Sigmoidoscopy Tips

  • Spare underwear. I packed two extra pairs of cotton loose underwear with me, ad I’m so grateful I did. The Moviprep takes 24 or more hours to wear off, and shit happens. Pun intended. Nerves, traffic, and the continual bathroom use makes the sphincters tired, and that’s okay.
  • Stop drinking 2 hours before the procedure. I got a lot of different information on this, but it meant by the time I got there I wasn’t expelling as much water. If you continue to drink you’ll find the journey and the wait that much more unpleasant – popping to the loo every ten minutes or so.
  • Have someone with you. That way they can carry your stuff, and advocate for you if you feel a tad out of it post procedure. I only had gas and air, but I still felt off afterwards. It was also nice just to have the company.
  • If you’re intolerant/allergic to foods, pack accordingly. They usually offer food when you get out, however if you know you can’t eat most foods pack a few light things in your bag.
  • Stretchy clothes that don’t compress your stomach, and comfy socks. Your stomach is most likely going to be sore, and full of trapped gas, so give it some room to expand.
  • Pack wet wipes for the lube post procedure. Tissues work fine, but thankfully I had a small pack of wet wipes for a gentler clean up.
  • You can take slippers, and dressing gowns with you, for comfort, but you don’t have to. I was give an extra gown to cover the weird paper trousers with a back flap I had to wear.
  • Comfy socks! Whilst I didn’t wear slippers, I did wear comfy socks, and I’m so glad I did. The procedure room was a tad chilly, and the gowns and thin blankets don’t offer too much in the way of warmth.

Post Sigmoidoscopy Tips

  • Hydrate. Ask for liquids, and make sure you drink them. Just be mindful that the laxatives are still in your system and will still continue to work for 24 hours plus.
  • Know that you might not pass the air they’ve pumped into you straight away, and that’s okay. It took me a good few hours for my stomach to expel the carbon dioxide they put in to see my colon. If you’ve not passed any for quite some time after the procedure it is worth checking everything out with a doc.
  • Don’t eat anything heavy, and don’t eat anything with fiber. If a few slices of white bread, or a few sausages is all you can manage don’t push it. I high recommend any type of yoghurt that has probiotics in them as you’ve just rid your gut of everything. Your body is tired after all it’s been through. Same goes for the few days following, take it easy on your system … so maybe no curries just yet!
  • Know that if they’ve taken some biopsy’s a bit of blood is normal, but that the gut will heal quickly. If you’re still seeing blood a few days later, maybe go to your GP for some advice, and to double check everything is okay.
  • If you ever feel something isn’t right you can, and are, encouraged to call them up for advice, and worst case scenario they might get you to go to A&E to get checked out, but better safe than sorry!
  • Take it easy. Don’t try and rush around too much, and give your body some time to catch up with the past few days. 2 liters of laxatives is a lot, don’t underestimate the effects it’s had on your body and electrolyte balance. Diet permitting, make sure you drink plenty of water, and maybe even the odd sports drink for a few days after it.

If you’re just about to have a sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy I hope the above is of some use to you, and good luck!

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