It's more than just a pain in the a**. At least according to the nurse that performs these day after day. I'm referring, of course, to the Flexible Sigmoidoscopy which I "enjoyed?" a couple of days ago and which involves a television camera being inserted 18 to 24 inches up inside your rectum, a direction which isn't usual for items going through there.
I wasn't able to get my own pictures but the two pictures here are representative of what you'll see - a long pink tube with glistening walls.
Actually, I can imagine that for some people, getting ready for the exam will be the hardest part. The day before the exam you have to maintain a strictly clear liquid diet while also taking some pretty effective laxatives. This has the effect of cleaning out your lower intestine so that the TV show will be more, shall we saw, effective. The final preparation can be the most embarrassing as you're asked to drop your pants and lay on a table with your rear end sticking out.
The nurse/technician advises you to relax ( a VERY GOOD suggestion, I might add) . The next thing you feel is a well lubricated finger in your anus followed almost immediately by a well-lubricated camera. The camera is pushed slowly but relentlessly until it reaches your transverse colon. Then it is slowly removed while it is swiveled from side to side. If necessary to see better, the technician rinses or scrapes an area. She can also probe or even clip off a piece of intestine that looks suspicious. Most clinics allow the patient to observe the whole TV show although some technicians give a better play by play narration than others.
This is a representation of a camera that is in about half way. It will stop at the sharp turn at the top of this first section.
The procedure which calls for examination of the entire large colon is a colonoscopy and involves general anesthesia.
Much to my relief, I have no polyps or suspicious tissue, The technician, based on what she saw, cautioned me to eat more fiber and take supplemental pills. But otherwise, I'm to come back in 5 yrars.