IBS Help – Irritable Bowel Syndrome Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

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IBS Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Hypnotherapy in Ely and Newmarket

IBS is a very common gastrointestinal disorder which is usually characterised by abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. When it strikes you may need to get to the toilet very quickly, or find yourself in pain and discomfort on the toilet for a prolonged time. What you can eat, what you feel comfortable doing when out, and the time spent on the toilet and near a toilet can start to impact upon your life.

Whilst certain foods and drinks can trigger it, it can be a frustrating condition to live with as you can have an IBS episode at any time and sometimes without knowing what has triggered it. Perhaps one of the biggest causes of IBS anxiety is not knowing when it may affect you or what even causes it. You may find yourself avoiding certain places and situations, such as eating out or travelling long distances, in case something happens, or you have an episode, or through the worry about the struggle to find a clean toilet you can use in a hurry should you need to.

Even if you have sought medical advice and have had all the available medical investigations, you may still be left with just trying to avoid food and drink that you know triggers it and with just needing to try and live with it, no matter how much it affects your enjoyment of your every day life. I’ve known people who only go out to the same places where they are comfortable there is a toilet, or who eat the same safe foods whenever they are out, or even who avoid eating out completely and wait until they are safely home before consuming anything just in case something happens.

Anxiety and stress are certainly well recognised contributors to IBS symptoms. There is the lingering concern, worry and dread that your IBS will affect you when you are out, or that you will have to cancel plans at the last moment due to your symptoms. The lurking anxiety and stress that IBS may impact, and the fear about not finding a toilet in time or being embarrassed in front of others, can add to your uncomfortable stomach issues and just make your IBS more impactful as well as more likely to affect you.

Hypnotherapy For IBS Research and Evidence 

Whilst IBS can be painful, inconvenient, anxiety provoking and distressing, there is strong evidence and research demonstrating that hypnotherapy can help to improve IBS symptoms in the vast majority of cases and that these improvement can be long term. Hypnotherapy can help with easing the symptoms of IBS itself, as well as helping to reduce the stress and anxiety that can trigger or exacerbate IBS symptoms.

For example, Whitehead (2006) found a median success rate of 87% when using hypnotherapy to improve IBS outcomes, based upon the results of eleven studies. This high rate of success for when using hypnotherapy for IBS means that the great majority of IBS sufferers using hypnosis are likely to achieve a marked improvement in their IBS symptoms. In particular, it is worth keeping in mind that these high success rates involved many people who had already tried and failed with standard medical treatments or other interventions. In addition to the improvements with irritable bowel symptoms, there was also an improvement in the associated symptoms of anxiety and depression experienced alongside the IBS.

As mentioned above, suffering with IBS can often lead to stress and anxiety issues, which can then further exacerbate IBS symptoms. Reducing your stress and anxiety levels can help with reducing IBS symptoms, and finding relief from IBS symptoms will help reduce your anxiety and stress levels. Rather than the limiting, negative cycle of anxiety and IBS, you start to feel more positive, manage things better and boost your quality of life.

“These studies report consistent IBS symptom reduction that is very substantial, is associated with broad improvement in psychological well-being and life functioning, can be just as readily achieved by patients who have not had relief from standard medical care, and may generally be expected to last for years” (Whitehead, 2006).

In another review (Tan, 2005), hypnosis was found to consistently produce significant results and to help improve the main symptoms of IBS in the majority of people. Hypnotherapy also improved emotional well-being, ability to work and quality of life for people suffering with IBS. These positive results were shown to be able to persist over a considerable period of time.

Alongside all of the good evidence that hypnotherapy can relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in the short term, research has also demonstrated that the beneficial effects of hypnotherapy appear to last at least five years and so make it a credible IBS treatment for long term improvement of symptoms (Gonsalkorale et al, 2003).  And there is a ton more positive research that exits that supports the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS, which is why it is a recognised form of psychological treatment for IBS by NICE (National Institute For Health and Care Excellence).

Similar positive results can also be achieved through online hypnotherapy (e.g. by Skype or Zoom) in situations where it isn’t possible to meet in person with a hypnotherapist (perhaps due to the severity of IBS symptoms making it difficult to travel or for logistical reasons). When Skype and face to face hypnotherapy are compared, there is no significant difference in results (Hasan et al, 2019). Online hypnotherapy can have an impact on all the individual symptoms associated with IBS as well as improving non-colonic symptoms, enhancing quality of life and reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

IBS can be a particularly debilitating and, for some people, embarrassing and limiting issue that can cause real distress, upset and anxiety. However, the research provides strong evidence for the effectiveness of hypnotherapy as a treatment option for IBS (alongside the many people I’ve helped with this issue) and it clearly demonstrates that hypnosis can be a real help to you in alleviating your uncomfortable symptoms and in easing any associated anxiety you may have been experiencing.

To your health and happiness, 

Dan Regan

Award Winning Hypnotherapist in Ely & Newmarket

Struggling with anxiety, stress, worry and fear and need some help? Find out how I can help with a Complimentary Hypnotherapy Strategy Session. Learn more here: Appointments

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Francis, C.Y., Morris, J. and Whorwell, P.J., 1997. The irritable bowel severity scoring system: a simple method of monitoring irritable bowel syndrome and its progress. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 11(2), pp.395-402.

Gonsalkorale, W.M., Miller, V., Afzal, A. and Whorwell, P.J., 2003. Long term benefits of hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome. Gut52(11), pp.1623-1629.

Hasan, S.S., Pearson, J.S. and Whorwell, P.J., 2019. SKYPE HYPNOTHERAPY FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME: Effectiveness and Comparison with Face-to-Face Treatment. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis.

Tan, G., Hammond, D.C. and Gurrala, J., 2005. Hypnosis and irritable bowel syndrome: a review of efficacy and mechanism of action. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 47(3), pp.161-178.

Whitehead, W.E., 2006. Hypnosis for irritable bowel syndrome: the empirical evidence of therapeutic effects. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis, 54(1), pp.7-20.


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