Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
What is IBS and it’s likely cause? IBS is not a condition or disorder, nor a disease or something you can pass on, but a malfunction in the way your gut works. IBS is thought by most doctors to be associated with increased sensitivity in the liming of the gut, but a single or specific cause has not yet been identified.
What triggers off symptoms? Increased sensitivity in the linking of the gut has been connected to a number of factors, for example, symptoms may develop after a bout of gastro-intestinal illness or food poisoning, or after a change in the nociceptive system which controls how we feel pain. At other times symptoms may be triggered by a change in the body’s ability to move food through the digestive system, or increased levels of stress. In fact, around half of IBS sufferers say their symptoms began after a stressful event. Food allergies and intolerances, or a change in colonic flora (the friendly bacteria living in the gut) have also been implicated in some cases.
Who can develop IBS? IBS can develop at any age, including childhood, but typically it starts between the ages of 20 to 30, and affects twice as many women as men. Around 20% of the population is thought to be affected at some point in their lives, though as many people are said to self-diagnose and self-treat so it is impossible to be exact, so true figures may be even higher.
What are the symptoms associated with IBS? There are generally two types of IBS cases, those who experience considerable physical pain and discomfort, and those that fear losing control in a public place, so it follows, symptoms will be experienced differently as the importance placed upon each symptom will depend as to which group you fall into. Typically speaking, symptoms associated with IBS are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling Feint
- Diarrhoea or constipation
What treatments are available for IBS once properly diagnosed and how can hypnotherapy help with IBS symptoms? Treatments generally focus on reducing the symptoms:
- Regular anti-spasmodic medication
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management
- Relaxation techniques
Stress management, relaxation techniques and teaching of self-hypnosis and mindfulness are particularly beneficial in reducing IBS symptoms and this is where the role of hypnotherapy starts to become clearer!
“The function of those systems in the body which are automatic, like digestion, is controlled by the autonomic nervous system. This is divided into the sympathetic nervous system (which is involved with the “fight or flight” response) and the parasympathetic nervous system which is activated during relaxation. Once the parasympathetic system is in a deeply relaxed state, it takes over the gut relaxes, allowing food to move through normally and the painful symptoms subside. Although this is somewhat simplified it does imply that relaxation might be helpful in reducing IBS and in fact a large number of studies have confirmed that deep relaxation, hypnotherapy, meditation and guided imagery can all help to control or reduce symptoms”
How many hypnotherapy sessions will I need? We are all unique and as such IBS is experienced differently by each individual. Generally speaking 4-6 sessions of a combination of hypnotherapy, NLP, CBT, mindfulness and self-hypnosis teachings should see a significant reduction in IBS symptoms previously experienced.
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