A sigmoidoscopy is similar to a colonoscopy, except it only examines up to the sigmoid, the farthest part of the colon, while colonoscopy examines the large bowel. There are two types of sigmoidoscopy: flexible sigmoidoscopy, which uses a flexible endoscope, and rigid sigmoidoscopy, which uses a rigid device. Flexible sigmoidoscopy is generally the preferred procedure. Physicians may use the procedure to find the cause of diarrhea, abdominal pain, or constipation. They also use it to look for benign and malignant polyps, as well as early signs of cancer in the descending colon and rectum. For both procedures, an endoscope is inserted into the rectum and slowly guided into the colon. The scope transmits an image of the inside of the rectum and colon, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope also blows air into these organs, which inflates them and helps the physician see more clearly.