Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Hypnotherapy can help to ease many health conditions and recently Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) has come into focus after some excellent clinical studies.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disorder of the digestive system and gut. It affects up to one in five people during their lifetime. That’s 12 million sufferers in the UK alone. The effects of IBS include painful abdominal cramps and spasms, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and excess wind. It is unclear what the cause of IBS is – some sufferers report an improvement of symptoms through dietary changes but for others dietary changes and medication have limited impact.


Consider Hypnotherapy For IBS

There have been some excellent clinical studies which show that hypnotherapy is a highly effective treatment for IBS with a response rate to treatment between 70-87%. Bowel symptoms can generally be expected to improve by about half, psychological symptoms and life functioning improve after treatment and these therapeutic gains are well maintained for most patients for years after the end of hypnotherapy treatment.

The psychological effects of Irritable Bowel Syndrome on sufferers include anxiety and depression. Some people live in constant worry about where they will be able to access a toilet. The stress of this can exacerbate IBS symptoms creating a vicious circle. Behaviours such as excessive bathroom trips before leaving the house, restricting food, using immodium type medications and avoidance of social situations are all frequently reported in sufferers.


How can hypnotherapy help with IBS?

Hypnotherapy can help IBS sufferers in many ways. The state of hypnosis is deeply relaxing and activates the parasympathetic nervous system which creates a ‘rest and digest’ response.  This means increased blood flow to the digestive tract during treatment and this change in blood flow can create changes in sensation and comfort within the digestive tract. Suggestions to decrease the sensitivity of the gut are also used in treatment. There is a direct link between the brain and the gut and the gut responds rapidly to anxiety and stress so therapy is used to find new ways to manage stress and calm anxiety. Gut directed therapy as created by Dr Whorwell Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at Manchester University involves the metaphor of the gut as a river and patients changing the speed of the flow of the river in their minds eye. The body responds to this visualisation showing beautifully the mind body connection in action.

If you are suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as diagnosed by your GP and would like to use hypnotherapy to help please get in touch.