IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is an uncomfortable and often distressing condition that affects around a third of the population at one time or another.
For about ten per cent, IBS is so disturbing that they are forced to seek medical help.
WHAT EXACTLY IS IBS?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is the name given to a collection of uncomfortable and often distressing conditions that cause disruption of the digestive system - the gut. Symptoms include stomach cramps, spasms, pain, diarrhoea and constipation, bloating, swelling, and trapped wind.
Though it can affect anyone at any age, it most often affects those below the age of fifty. It also seems to affect women a great deal more than men.
IBS can cause such disempowering and distressing feelings that it has been linked to increased suicidal behaviour.
CAUSES OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
IBS is provoked when the nerves and muscles of the bowel fail to function as they should.
Medical researchers and doctors are unsure of the actual cause of IBS. It is acknowledged that stress and anxiety play a role, and also hormonal imbalances can play a part. Certain foods can also trigger a sensitivity that aggravates this condition.
When consulting your doctor with symptoms of IBS, he or she may recommend a variety of different tests. These may include stool tests, lactose intolerance and food sensitivity tests. Other laboratory tests and examinations might include - X-rays, CT scans, colonoscopies, and lower GI tests.
While the medical approach focuses on the symptoms themselves, there is little or no emphasis on the cause of those symptoms.
A Mayo Clinic study (2011) has found that the accumulated effects of emotional and psychological difficulties and traumas may contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome in adults. And research conducted at London's Holloway University has found that anxiety, stress and upset is related to the worsening of symptoms in IBS.
HYPNOTHERAPY FOR IBS
There seems little doubt that the mind plays an important role in IBS - and so it is the mind that must be included in its proper treatment and successful resolution.
Research* has demonstrated that hypnosis therapy - hypnotherapy - is an effective means of managing and treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Using advanced hypnotherapy techniques and strategies, IBS can be successfully treated and the discomfort greatly eased. The hypnotherapy process usually takes between four and six sessions, with one or two follow-up sessions sometimes advised after several months have passed.
The good news is that if you, or someone you care about, have been experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome - IBS, then hypnotherapy can offer real help.
Whorwell PJ; Prior A; Faragher EB. Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome.The Lancet 1984, 2: 1232-4.
Harvey RF; Hinton RA; Gunary RM; Barry RE. Individual and group hypnotherapy in treatment of refractory irritable bowel syndrome. Lancet, 1989 Feb, 1:8635, 424-5.
Peter Field is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Health. His hypnotherapy Birmingham and London clinics provide hypnotherapy for IBS and a range of issues. His extensive range of self-hypnosis downloads is now available.