Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long term and often debilitating condition that affects up to 1 in 5 people in the UK at some point in their lives. IBS causes a number of different symptoms, usually pain or discomfort in the stomach, altered bowel habits, bloating and a feeling of being unwell. The symptoms can vary from person to person and may come and go, lasting for a few days or a number of months at a time. More women seem to be affected than men.
What causes IBS
The cause of IBS isn't known although it is thought to be due to a sensitivity or overactivity of the gut. Various factors are thought to play a role in IBS and include the following...
Foods. The role of food allergy or intolerance in irritable bowel syndrome is not totally understood, but many people have more severe symptoms when they eat certain foods.
Stress. Most people with IBS find that their signs and symptoms are exacerbated or more frequent during periods of increased stress. Although stress may aggravate symptoms, it doesn't cause them.
Hormones. Because women are twice as likely to have IBS, researchers believe that hormonal changes play a role in this condition. Many women find that signs and symptoms are worse during or around their menstrual periods.
Other illnesses. Sometimes another illness, such as an acute episode of infectious diarrhea (gastroenteritis) or too many bacteria in the intestines (bacterial overgrowth), can trigger IBS.
What treatment is available for IBS?
Because its not clear what causes IBS, treatment generally focuses on the relief of symptoms and may involve...
Use of medication, such as anti-spasmodics, anti-depressants or anti-diarrheal medication
Probiotics - Recent studies suggest that certain probiotics may help, although additional investigation is needed.
Dietary changes, such as avoiding certain foods that may trigger symptoms. A lot of research has suggested following a low FODMAP diet significantly helps.
Psychological therapies – such as hypnotherapy, CBT, visualisation or meditation
How can Hypnotherapy help?
It is important to consult your GP first for information, diagnosis and advice if you think that you may have IBS. Many Doctors now recognise the benefits of Hypnotherapy in helping with this medical condition and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that people living with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months consider a referral for psychological interventions, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy can help in a number of ways. As stress is often a significant contributing factor to IBS, learning relaxation and stress management techniques is enormously beneficial. Hypnotherapy can also help to uncover any worries or fears that are are contributing to the IBS. In addition, visualisation and suggestions to decrease gut sensitivity and to increase confidence in your well-being whilst under hypnosis are very effective.
If you are suffering with IBS and would like further information on how Hypnotherapy can help with your condition, then please do contact me on 07887 241365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.