IBS - help & therapy

Proven as an aid to relieving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Stomach Ache

What is IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS, or spastic colon) is characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits. These symptoms affect some people more severely than others, however typically sufferers have bloating, pain, cramps, diarrhoea, constipation, or bouts of both. A diagnosis of IBS tends to be made on the basis of symptoms alone, and the onset of IBS is more likely to occur after an infection, a stressful life event, or onset of maturity. In the UK about 5% of men and 13% of women (symptoms sometimes worsening around menstruation time) suffer from IBS.

Triggers for IBS

IBS sufferers should always check with their GP, as symptoms can be shared with more serious conditions. IBS is normally diagnosed by ruling out all other conditions. Although causes are often unknown, psychological factors are commonly involved and 50% of patients will connect the onset of their symptoms to a significant life event, such as a job or house move, redundancy or bereavement. 10-20% cite the onset of symptoms as due to acute gastroenteritis, whilst in the remainder the trigger factor is unidentified. Studies have shown genetic predisposition in close relatives of IBS sufferers, even when the former show no symptoms of IBS themselves - suggesting that a trigger can set off IBS in susceptible people.  Stress certainly aggravates IBS - indeed, suffering from IBS can itself cause stress and anxiety. Some suffer from 'travel toilet anxiety' and will not travel without knowing the exact location of public toilets along their route. Many people find that symptoms are worsened by particular foods whereas in others this seems not to be a factor.

Upset Stomach
Happy Girl

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Hypnotherapy has a very good track record in dealing with the problem. - indeed, in the UK hypnotherapy has been recognised by NICE as an effective intervention where other treatments have failed. Much research has been undertaken on the use of hypnotherapy to treat IBS – motivated by the lack of effective conventional treatment available within the medical profession. It has been shown that under hypnosis people can influence their bodies in a way that reduces the contractions of their bowels, something not normally under conscious control. Their bowel lining can also become less sensitive to pain. Hypnotherapy can also address suggestions for coping with phobic anxiety concerned with a sufferer’s inability to reach a toilet in time by increasing confidence and a feeling of being in control.