Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common, often long-term disorder of the way in which the bowel functions that causes, amongst other symptoms, uncomfortable pain in your abdomen (tummy), bloating, diarrhoea, indigestion and constipation as well as noticeable changes to your daily bowel habits. These symptoms are thought to be caused from increased sensitivity of the bowel.
For many years, the only recognised treatment for IBS was through a combination of medication and lifestyle alterations such as making changes to your diet and exercise regimen.
However due to evidence that suggests hypnotherapy can alleviate the symptoms of IBS, more and more people with IBS are now turning to hypnotherapy as the results can be life-changing.
IBS – The Facts
It’s almost impossible to be precise on the number of IBS sufferers in the UK since the symptoms manifest themselves in a wide variety of ways and levels of severity, but it’s understood that it affects 20% of people at some point in their lives and ‘one-third [around 33%] of people in Britain have occasional symptoms that are bad enough to require medical attention.’*
*Source: Mail Online
Hypnotherapy for IBS
Treatment aims to teach clients the necessary skills to control and help normalise the gut function by lowering the levels of anxiety, lowering the perception of pain and discomfort and by directing positive images to the gut.
I have been extensively trained in gut-directed hypnotherapy which follows the therapy developed by Peter Whorwell, professor of medicine and gastroenterology at Manchester University, who says “During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity’.
‘IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body,’ Professor Whorwell explains.
For 20 years, Professor Whorwell has treated IBS patients with hypnotherapy and has a success rate of around 70%, stating ‘it helps all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few of the symptoms.’
Editor of Frontline Gastroenterology Dr Roland Valori who is a Consultant Gastroenterologist also suggests that hypnotherapy is now a legitimate treatment for IBS; ‘It is pretty clear to me that it has an amazing effect. Of the relaxation therapies available, hypnotherapy is the most powerful.’
In an audit of the first 100 cases he referred for hypnotherapy, symptoms stopped completely in four in 10 (40%) cases of typical IBS. In a further five in 10 cases patients reported feeling more in control of their symptoms and were therefore much less troubled by them.*
*Source: BBC News
Gut-directed hypnotherapy is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as a possible treatment for IBS and in February 2008, published guidance for GPs and consultants saying: ‘Referral for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months’.
The Treatment and Benefits of Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy
The treatment package consists of an initial consultation followed by up to 12, 1-hour weekly sessions for three months. Gut-directed hypnotherapy can help you to:
- Understand how the gut and brain work together
- Learn relaxation techniques and new ways to manage stress
- Visualise in order to decrease the sensitivity of your gut and bowels
- Promote positive thinking and develop new strategies for coping
- Improve well-being and increase confidence and your overall quality of life
- Reduce attacks of constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and abdomen pain
- Recognise the worries and fears that contribute to your IBS
- Set goals to visualise a future without IBS
- Learn techniques you can use at home, away from your sessions
Although hypnotherapy has proven very effective for some sufferers, IBS is still regarded as a medical condition. If you think you might have IBS then the first thing to do is visit your doctor to get their diagnosis and advice.
Once you have established with the doctor that it is IBS and believe that hypnotherapy could help you then please contact me today to start your journey back to behavioural freedom.