Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system and living with it can be pretty, well, irritating.
About 2 in 10 people have IBS in the UK and get episodes six times a year or more. How long a flare up lasts varies from person to person and may change from one episode to the next. You can develop IBS at any age, but you usually have your first symptoms when you’re between 20 and 30. it tends to affect Women more than Men.
In my experience in helping people with IBS they tell me that their symptoms are usually worse when they are feeling stressed or anxious.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive system. It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.
It is often dismissed with people believing that it may just be an upset tummy and for some people it may be embarrassing to talk about it.
IBS can be a life long problem and as well as being frustrating it can have a big impact on your everyday life.
If you believe that you may have IBS it is vitally important to consult your doctor first for information and advice
Although IBS is a medical condition it is unlike other conditions that have specific tests in order to confirm a diagnosis. IBS doesn’t cause any easily detectable abnormalities in your digestive system; everyone is affected by the condition differently.
The most important thing you can do is to share with your doctor a clear description of the symptoms you have experienced. In most cases, your GP will consider assessing you for IBS if you have been experiencing any of the typical symptoms of IBS for at least six months.
Although there is no cure for IBS, there are things that can help manage the symptoms. Hypnotherapy, relaxation training, a controlled diet, medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) have all been found to help ease symptoms of IBS.
In a number of clinical studies, Hypnotherapy in particular has been shown to be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Hypnotherapy for IBS involves progressive relaxation, and then suggestions of soothing imagery and sensations focused on the individual’s symptoms. hypnotherapy is especially effective at regulating the autonomic nervous system by increasing parasympathetic activity. That's the "rest and restore" function of the body, which helps with keeping your body's functions healthy, including immunity and hormones. With the help of clinical hypnosis techniques, we can direct the autonomic nervous system toward specific healing functions such as pain control, reducing anxiety and helping improve sleep.
Improvements in overall well-being, quality of life, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating have also been noted.
I offer Solution Focused Hypnotherapy which combines the best of clinical hypnosis with a Solution-Focused dialogue with the client. This combination of approaches was pioneered in the early 90s by David Newton of The Clifton Practice in Bristol with whom and where I trained as a Hypnotherapist,
Research has found that hypnotherapy may help improve the primary symptoms of IBS. Hypnotherapy appears to offer symptomatic, psychological, and physiological benefits.
Research on the long-term follow-up of patients who have benefited from Hypnotherapy shows that after a period of between 1 and 5 years, most remain well with many requiring no further medication at all.
One IBS treatment recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is hypnotherapy.
NICE recommend that people living with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months consider a referral for psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy.
Hypnotherapy for IBS can help an individual learn relaxation techniques, as well as learning new ways to manage stress. Our state of mind can have an impact on our physical well-being. Therefore the tension, stress and anxiety often caused by IBS may undermine the immune system and further compromise health.
Learning how to relax and manage stressful feelings can become useful life tools. Hypnosis can help to promote positive thinking and develop coping strategies. The hypnotherapist helps you recognise the problem and access your unconscious mind.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been investigated extensively over the past three decades as an intervention for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in adults. Almost 30 studies of clinical outcomes, including ten randomised controlled trials, have been published on the topic, with most showing that hypnotherapy significantly improved bowel symptoms and, often, the associated quality of life and emotional symptoms. On the basis of this body of research, multiple recent reviews have concluded that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for IBS.
(The Lancet Gastroenterology and Hepatology journal )
Please contact me for more information or to book a free initial consultation where I will explain in a bit more detail how hypnotherapy works, and how it can help with the symptoms of IBS.
I work online or in person ( face to face)