Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Bristol

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common chronic condition which affects the digestive system. It is unknown exactly what causes it but it is thought that it can be linked to stress.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be quite unpleasant at times and can have a big impact on the life of the sufferer. Hypnotherapy can help you to reduce stress levels which in turn helps to reduce the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome. It gives you the tools to be able to cope better reducing the risk of stress triggering your IBS symptoms in the future. Hypnotherapy can also help you to manage any pain that might be experienced as a result of the condition.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), who are responsible for providing national guidance on promoting good health and preventing and treating ill health, advise GPs to refer patients suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome for psychological interventions (Hypnotherapy, CBT or Psychotherapy) if they have not responded to medication.

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a collection of symptoms affecting the digestive tract which can include:

  • Abdominal pain and discomfort

  • Bloating

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhoea

  • Abdominal spasms or cramps

  • Excess wind

  • Nausea

  • Indigestion

  • Vomiting

If you think you are suffering with Irritable Bowel Syndrome it is advisable to get it checked out with your GP, so that any other digestive disorders can be eliminated.

The efficacy of hypnotherapy for IBS

According to the NHS online 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.”

Unfortunately, the majority of Primary Care trusts do not fund Hypnotherapy as a treatment option, so patients are left to seek hypnotherapy privately.

Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology and a Gastroenterologist at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, referred some of his patients for hypnotherapy. He said of the first one hundred of his patients treated with hypnotherapy, symptoms improved significantly for nine in ten. He said that although previous research has shown Hypnotherapy is effective for Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers, it is not being widely used in the NHS. Back in June 2011, the Royal Society of Medicine announced that they were seeking to make hypnosis more widely used within the NHS.

Dr Valori studied the first one hundred cases he referred for hypnotherapy and found that the symptoms stopped completely in four in ten cases with typical Irritable Bowel Syndrome. He says in a further five in ten cases patients reported feeling more in control of their symptoms and were therefore much less troubled by them.

More recently, two Swedish studies, conducted by researchers at the University of Gothenburg, have been published showing the effectiveness of hypnotherapy for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The two studies involved a total of 346 patients.

In the first study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, 138 patients with IBS received hypnotherapy treatment for one hour a week over 12 weeks. The research showed that hypnotherapy alleviated symptoms in 40% of those affected by the digestive condition. One of the researchers, Magnus Simrén, said "The treatment involves the patient learning to control their symptoms through deep relaxation and individually adapted hypnotic suggestions. The idea is for the patient to then use this technique in their everyday life."

In the second study, published in Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, 208 patients who had previously received hypnotherapy were examined. The research showed that 85 per cent of those who had been helped by hypnosis still felt the benefits of the treatment up to seven years later and that the majority still actively use the self-hypnosis techniques learnt in their everyday lives. The group also showed that the use of the healthcare system as a result of stomach and bowel symptoms had also reduced by 70%.

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. It also gives you the tools to be able to cope better so that stress no longer triggers IBS symptoms. Hypnotherapy also helps to manage any pain that might be experienced as a result of the condition.

Bristol hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy can be very effective at treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The amount of sessions you require will depend on your general levels of stress and anxiety. The severity of Irritable Bowel Syndrome differs from person to person and this also influences how many sessions required. We can discuss this in more detail during the initial consultation.

Manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Hypnotherapy in Bristol