Symptoms can include: abdominal pain and discomfort, which can be triggered by eating; diarrhoea and/or constipation; bloating, indigestion, wind and flatulence.
The exact causes of IBS are not known, however common triggers are stress, immune system problems and certain foods. IBS sufferers often report periods of good health interspersed by periods of IBS.
In the first instance, you should visit your GP to get a diagnosis and advice about treatment. Dietary changes can help to reduce the effects of IBS, and I work closely with a nutritionist who can help on this subject. There is also plenty of information on IBS-related websites about diet. Hypnotherapy is recommended by many IBS-specialists and health websites as a first port of call.
Hypnotherapy is recognised by the medical profession as an effective treatment for IBS. Stress is often a key contributor in patients with IBS and can trigger unhelpful responses in the bowels.
Hypnotherapy teaches you how to relax, uses visualisation techniques to gain control and ease symptoms, and encourages different and more helpful responses to stress.
A study of 620 patients was published by The British Medical Journal in 2007 which found that Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is often experienced by anxious and driven people.
Researchers studied 620 people who had a diagnosis of gastroenteritis caused by a bacterial infection. None had had IBS before, or indeed any serious bowel disorder. Each patient completed a questionnaire including questions on mood, stress levels, illness beliefs and behaviours. They were followed up after 3 and 6 months to find out if they had developed the typical symptoms of IBS, which include diarrhoea and/or constipation, abdominal pain and bloating. 49 of the 620 participants had IBS at both the 3 and 6 month time. Women were found to be more than twice as likely to have IBS as the men.
The patients with IBS were significantly more likely to have reported high levels of stress and anxiety and psychosomatic symptoms than those who did not. They were also significantly more likely to be ‘driven’, carrying on regardless until they were forced to rest. The authors of the report say that this pattern of behaviour worsens and prolongs the condition. Those with IBS were more likely to take a pessimistic view of illness.
Important information: Before booking an IBS Hypnotherapy session, it is important that you have had your symptoms checked by your GP, and that IBS is the confirmed medical diagnosis.
Louise Nonweiler (Dip Hyp DNLP GQHP GHRreg Dip Psych Dip. Mindfulness IAHT)
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