For the best results and to prevent the need to cancel or reschedule your sigmoidoscopy, please follow your Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center of Santa Cruz doctor's instructions.
Your doctor's office will provide you with instructions about prescription medications you can and can't take before your procedure. Your doctor will also give you a prescription for preparation medication to take in advance of your procedure that will cleanse your system, such as magnesium citrate and Fleet Enema (available over the counter).
You will receive additional instructions from your prescribing doctor if you are taking diabetic medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners), or you have bleeding or clotting problems.
Things you must avoid for the procedure:
- Aspirin, NSAIDS like ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn).
- You may also need to avoid iron, fish oil, seeds, nuts, popcorn, quinoa and vitamin E.
- Your doctor may have you stop taking some of your medications or have you avoid certain foods for up to seven days before your procedure.
- Most doctors will require fasting to some extent and no liquids before your procedure.
- You must not eat solid foods before your procedure. Eating any solid foods may result in your procedure being canceled.
You must arrive at your given location one hour before your scheduled procedure time. Your entire stay will be between two to two and a half hours.
For your safety, Sutter Health requires you to have someone drive you home after your procedure.
You are not permitted to take a taxi, operate any mode of transportation yourself, or use any public transportation to get home after the procedure. A responsible adult will need to drive you home and someone should stay with you for at least two hours to make sure there are no issues following the sedation or procedure.
You may also prearrange a ride with Lift Line (831) 688-9663, Paracruz (831) 425-4664 or Care from the Heart (831) 476-8316. These companies have medical training in transporting patients.
Before Your Procedure
Please refer to the preparation instructions given to you by your doctor’s office. The doctor will generally ask that you drink the magnesium citrate around 6:00 pm the evening before your procedure and drink 16 to 32 ounces of clear liquids. At midnight of the day before your procedure, no eating or drinking until after your procedure. That includes gum, candy or cough drops.
While drinking the preparation medication:
- To improve the taste of your preparation medication, try adding a citrus-flavored powdered drink packet, chilling it before drinking, licking a lemon or lime wedge after drinks, or using a straw.
- Consider using petroleum jelly or diaper rash ointment around the anus before starting the prep and after each bowel movement to minimize irritation from passing many bowel movements.
- To prevent dehydration, drink plenty of fluids before and after the procedure. Your body can lose significant amounts of fluids during the bowel preparation process.
- Feelings of bloating, nausea, abdominal cramping or chills are common. This should decrease over the course of the bowel preparation.
- If you develop severe nausea or vomiting, stop drinking the bowel prep for 30 minutes and then start again once you are feeling better. If you feel you can’t complete the prep, call your provider.
Your doctor will ask that you use the Fleet Enema about two hours before your scheduled procedure time. You will use the Fleet Enema followed by warm water until clear.
What to Expect upon Arrival for your Procedure
- Prior to the procedure, a nurse will ask you questions to ensure that you understand the procedure and the reason for it, and to ensure that you prepared properly for it. The gastroenterology doctor will also review the procedure with you.
- The nurse will start an intravenous line to administer medications. The intravenous line is similar to having blood drawn. Your vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen saturation) will be monitored closely before, during and after the procedure.
- The sigmoidoscopy will be performed while you are lying on your left side. Medications to help you relax (sedative) and narcotic (to help with discomfort) will be administered intravenously. Some people sleep during the examination, while others are very relaxed, comfortable and awake. This is NOT general anesthesia.
After the Procedure
- Rest for the remainder of the day.
- Do not participate in any activities which require coordination or judgment. You may return to regular activities the day after the procedure.
- If a polyp is removed, we recommend no travel for two weeks from your date of procedure. Check with your doctor if you are planning to travel internationally.
- Some bloating, gas or mild cramping is normal and should diminish.
- At the conclusion of your procedure, you will receive specific information about findings, post-procedure instructions and precautions.