If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
you are very aware of the emotional and physical aspects of the condition. Everyone suffers the odd upset stomach, but for 10-20 % of the population this is a regular experience of painful abdominal spasms, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation that go with the condition. It also means that you may live with the limitations, inconvenience, and often embarrassment that result.
IBS is a sporadic and unpredictable disruption of the digestive system. Doctors are not exactly certain what causes IBS, however it occurs when the nerves and muscles of the lower bowel area are not working the way they should. IBS can affect anyone at any time in their lives, however it typically starts during late teenage years and most often affects people between 20 and 30 years of age. It is twice as common in women as in men. Recent trends indicate that it is also now more present in older age groups.

If you have already been diagnosed with IBS and conventional treatment has not helped, hypnotherapy can help you to manage IBS.
Both the British Medical Association (BMA) and The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) specifically recommend hypnotherapy as a treatment option for IBS sufferers.

Hypnotherapy can help you with:

  • Relaxing and managing stress.
  • Understanding when symptoms started and dealing with contributing issues
  • Dealing with triggers and promotion of physical and emotional healing.
  • Management of symptoms whenever they occur, using self-hypnosis and pain management techniques
  • Rebuilding confidence and self-esteem.
In general, most people start to experience positive changes (physical, mental and emotional) from the first hypnotherapy session. BMA recommends 10 sessions for successful treatment, however we have found that fewer sessions are effective, especially when supported by self-hypnosis recordings.
As each person is unique, it would be wrong to state the exact number of sessions needed, but typically you should see significant improvements in symptoms and management of symptoms after initial 3-4 sessions.

Some additional facts about IBS

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the healthcare professionals should consider assessment for IBS if the person reports having had any of the below symptoms for at least 6 months.
Symptoms can vary in type, frequency and severity and sometimes overlap with other gastrointestinal disorders such as non-ulcer dyspepsia or coeliac disease, but they can include;
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Change in bowel movements -diarrhoea, constipation or both
Other features such as lethargy, nausea, backache and bladder symptoms are common and may be used to support the diagnosis.
Conventional Treatment
includes dietary, lifestyle and physcal activity advice as well as medication to target symptoms.
Food and Drink
Keeping a food diary to record what you have been eating and how your body reacts can help you spot problems and prepare a diet that helps to control your symptoms.
Some of the food groups most commonly known to trigger IBS symptoms include:
  • Wheat Products
  • Dairy Products
  • Onions
  • Caffeine containing drinks like tea, coffee and cola
  • Chocolate

Stress and IBS

Stress can show itself in many different ways. It can be both healthy and unhealthy. Small amount of stress can help us stay motivated, however when stress exceeds our levels to deal with it, either as a result of sudden chance in circumstance or after slow build-up, it can lead to various health issues.
The immediate physical reactions to stress may be sweating, breathlessness, increased blood pressure, insomnia, diarrhoea, palpitations. Mental chances can include anxious and negative thoughts, low levels of energy.

While stress and anxiety do not directly cause IBS, over a long period these can contribute into development of gastrointestinal problems and can certainly trigger the symptoms of IBS.
There are many different ways to tackle stress; Keeping a diary of your feelings of stress and anxiety can help you being able to recognise stress, situations that cause stress and the feelings of stress that trigger a potential attack of IBS.
Hypnotherapy is particularly good for treating stress and anxiety through deep relaxation of the body and mind. Hypnosis can be used to teach on subconscious level how to prevent stress, build stamina and how to take care of oneself.