Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)? Well, no one really knows, but 1 in 5 people, twice as many of these being women than men, will develop IBS at sometime during their life.
According to the NHS website “There’s a lot of evidence that psychological factors play an important role in IBS.”
This doesn’t mean that IBS is “all in the mind” – the symptoms are very real. But intense emotional states, such as stress and anxiety, can trigger chemical changes that interfere with the normal workings of the digestive system.
This doesn’t just happen in people with IBS. Many people who have never had IBS can have a sudden change in bowel habits when faced with a stressful situation, such as an important exam or a job interview.
It’s also been found that many people with IBS have experienced a traumatic event, usually during their childhood, such as abuse, neglect, a serious childhood illness or bereavement.
It is possible that difficult experiences in your past, such as these, make you more sensitive to stress and the symptoms of pain and discomfort.”
Guidelines issued by NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) recommend Hypnotherapy as one of the most effective treatments for IBS.
In 2008, NICE published guidelines for GPs for the diagnosis and management of IBS. Once diagnosed, the guidelines recommend 12 months of traditional treatments ranging from dietary advice through to anti-diarrhoea or anti-constipation medications as appropriate, or even low dose antidepressants to reduce pain and spasms. If the IBS has not responded to this treatment, it is classed as ‘intractable’.†
In such cases, NICE recommends Hypnotherapy as an option to help the condition. In fact there are a small number of Hypnotherapists specialising in IBS working within NHS hospitals. According to the NHS on-line portal, NHS Choices, which offers information about how to make choices about your health: “Hypnotherapy has been shown to help some people with IBS to reduce their symptoms of pain and discomfort… You can have Hypnotherapy as an outpatient in some NHS hospital pain clinics, or you can learn self-hypnosis techniques to do at home.” Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology, said of the first 100 of his patients treated, symptoms improved significantly for nine in 10. He said that although previous research has shown Hypnotherapy is effective for IBS sufferers, it is not widely used.
IBS is more common in women than men and may be aggravated by stress and life changes. Hypnotherapy can help to alleviate symptoms often by addressing the underlying anxiety.
*”I have suffered with IBS for 7 years, and despite many doctors and hospital appointments, hypnotherapy was never something that was suggested to me. However one night when I was at an all time low, I found the suggestion of hypnotherapy on the NHS website.
I was quite nervous about my appointment with Emma, but I really shouldn’t have been. I was made to feel so secure and safe to talk about how I was feeling. Emma explained to me how my mind had been working and how to teach myself to stop using my primitive brain – it all made so much sense! She was there to share the successes with and no matter how small or insignificant they seemed, Emma was always there to justify how big the achievements really were.
I can’t thank Emma enough for what she has done for me. Before my sessions I would often have panic attacks when faced with going to unfamiliar places in case IBS struck, too terrified to eat in public and had a generally negative attitude to food. My life was at an all time low and the anxiety was ruling my life. However now, not only have my symptoms massively reduced but I feel like a normal person. I am beginning to love food again and enjoying socialising with friends and family out and about. Hypnotherapy really has changed my life and I would thoroughly recommend Emma to any IBS sufferers.”*
*Results may vary from person to person