Hypnotherapy for IBS

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), commonly referred to as spastic colon, is a functional bowel disorder, implying that the bowel doesn’t operate as it is expected to. It is essential to clarify that IBS is not a disease in itself.

It primarily affects gut motility, which is the pace at which the bowel contents are pushed towards the rectum. By using hypnotherapy for IBS I can help you to regulate the gut motility allow you to lead a normal life. Where your gut operates the way it is meant to.

This syndrome is typified by abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhoea, or alternating episodes of constipation and diarrhoea.

hypnotherapy for IBS

Let’s take a closer look at IBS

With IBS, the nerves and muscles within the bowel are hypersensitive. For instance, the muscles might contract excessively during eating. Such contractions can lead to cramping and diarrhoea during or shortly after meals. Additionally, the nerves can be extremely sensitive, causing pain and cramping.

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome

People suffering from IBS might experience a range of symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Excessive gas or wind
  • Bloating
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Mucus in stools
  • Narrow, ribbon-like stools or pebble-like bowel movements
  • Rectal discomfort
  • A feeling of tightness around the waist
  • Headaches or backaches
  • Anxiety or depression

Understanding the causes of IBS

The exact cause of IBS remains unknown. Previously, emotional stress and conflicts were thought to be the main culprits. Modern research, however, suggests that while stress can amplify IBS symptoms, it is not the sole factor. It has been found that the colon muscle of an individual with IBS starts to spasm even with mild stimulation. This implies that there could be an inherent issue in the way the muscles react.

Furthermore, the bowel seems to overreact to various stimuli, including food, exercise, and hormones. There is also ongoing research into the connection between IBS and food allergies, bacterial imbalances, parasites, scar tissue affecting bowel motility, and bacterial overgrowth.

Diagnosing IBS

IBS is typically diagnosed once doctors rule out more serious organic diseases. The diagnostic process involves taking a detailed medical history, including a thorough account of the symptoms, followed by a physical examination and laboratory tests.

Managing IBS: The role of hypnotherapy for IBS

Hypnotherapy for IBS, particularly gut-directed hypnotherapy, is emerging as an immensely promising avenue for managing IBS. Hypnotherapy for IBS not only targets the stress component, which is known to exacerbate gut problems but it aims to regulate the flow of food through the gut. By helping break the cycle between physical symptoms and anxiety, hypnotherapy can foster psychological well-being.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy was pioneered by Dr. P.J. Whorwell at the University Hospital of South Manchester in 1984. It is a specialised form of hypnotherapy tailored to address gut issues. Clinical trials and practical experience have demonstrated that it can either eliminate or significantly reduce the symptoms of IBS.

Hypnotherapy for IBS

Under hypnotherapy, my clients enter a relaxed state where I can work with them to alter the way their subconscious perceives pain and gut discomfort. This method has proved to be remarkably effective. Approximately eight out of ten patients report an 80% improvement in their condition following a course of six to eight sessions of gut-directed hypnotherapy. Furthermore, studies indicate that the relief from symptoms can last for at least five years.

Hypnotherapy for IBS research

  1. Whorwell PJ, Prior A, Faragher EB. “Controlled trial of hypnotherapy in the treatment of severe refractory irritable-bowel syndrome.” The Lancet, 1984. This landmark study was among the first to provide high-quality evidence that hypnotherapy could help IBS symptoms.
  2. Gonsalkorale WM, Houghton LA, Whorwell PJ. “Hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome: a large-scale audit of a clinical service with examination of factors influencing responsiveness.” American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2002. This audit of over 200 patients found that hypnotherapy improved symptoms in a majority of IBS sufferers, with benefits lasting up to five years.
  3. Palsson OS, Turner MJ, Johnson DA, Burnett CK, Whitehead WE. “Hypnosis treatment for severe irritable bowel syndrome: Investigation of mechanism and effects on symptoms.” Digestive Diseases and Sciences, 2002. This study found that hypnotherapy could reduce the way IBS sufferers perceive pain.
  4. Simrén M, Ringström G, Björnsson ES, Abrahamsson H. “Treatment with hypnotherapy reduces the sensory and motor component of the gastrocolonic response in irritable bowel syndrome.” Psychosomatic Medicine, 2004. This research found that hypnotherapy could modulate the gastrocolonic response, leading to an improvement in IBS symptoms.

Even NICE suggests that hypnotherapy for IBS can be helpful

According the the NICE guidelines on IBS recommends hypnotherapy where pharmaceutical interventions are not working. See hear for the full guidelines on IBS

1.2.3 Psychological interventions for psychological interventions (cognitive behavioural therapy [CBT], hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for people with IBS who do not respond to pharmacological treatments after 12 months and who develop a continuing symptom profile (described as refractory IBS). [2008]

Hypnotherapy and IBS: When can I expect results?

One of the common questions people have about hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is: “How long will it take before I start seeing a difference in my symptoms?”

It’s a valid question, but there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Every person is unique and the way each individual’s body responds to hypnotherapy can vary. That said, research and clinical experience offer some general insights.

In many cases, I have seen people begin notice changes after just a few sessions of hypnotherapy. For others, it may take a bit longer. Studies have shown that a typical course of treatment often involves about 6 to 8 weekly sessions, each lasting for about one hour. Some people might start feeling better part way through this course, while others might not see significant changes until they’ve completed their full set of sessions.

Remember, hypnotherapy is a process. It’s not a quick fix, but rather a gradual way of retraining your brain’s response to discomfort and stress. This rewiring can take time and patience, but the results are often worth the wait.

Even after you’ve finished your initial sessions, it’s important to continue practicing the techniques you’ve learned. Regularly using these self-hypnosis skills can help maintain your progress and manage any future IBS flare-ups.

So what about you?

IBS is not life-threatening and is not associated with the onset of other severe bowel diseases. However, the pain, discomfort, and other symptoms can substantially impair one’s quality of life and may result in being unable to attend work or social engagements. Therefore, effectively managing IBS is crucial for maintaining a normal and fulfilling life.

In addition to hypnotherapy for IBS, lifestyle adjustments can also play a significant role in managing IBS.

Remember that management of IBS often requires a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes. It is a highly individualised condition, and what works for one person might not work for another.

In conclusion, while IBS can be a challenging and sometimes frustrating condition to live with, the development of new treatments and management techniques, hypnotherapy for IBS, offers hope to those suffering from this disorder. However, by using hypnotherapy for IBS many individuals are finding ways to lead happy, fulfilling lives despite their condition.