Hypnotherapy is recognised by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the body responsible for providing evidence based guidelines for the NHS, as a treatment for easing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Hypnotherapy aims not only to ease the symptoms of IBS, but also to teach you the skills that’ll help you to manage any stress and emotional upset in your life, which may exacerbate flare-ups. Sessions typically include:
- helping you change the way you think about your symptoms so that they become less threatening;
- reducing your hyper-vigilance around benign gut sensations;
- equipping you with techniques to manage and ease your symptoms;
- reducing avoidance behaviours related to fears associated with IBS symptoms;
- increasing your resilience to cope with stress and life challenges.
What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common disorder caused by an error in the way the digestive system works. It affects about 1 in 5 people in the UK at some stage in their life. It is slightly more common in women. People who have irritable bowel syndrome are more likely to suffer with depression, panic disorder (frequent panic attacks) and other psychological conditions. People with these conditions are also more likely to suffer with IBS.
What are the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Symptoms (IBS)?
Symptoms of IBS can include:
- Pain or cramping in the stomach that comes and goes
- Bloating and passing wind
- Bouts of diarrhoea or constipation
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Headaches and other aches and pains
- Poor appetite
These symptoms can come and go. They can last a few days or even a few months at a time. The condition generally begins when someone is in their 20s to 30s and it can affect them for the rest of their life.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome can severely restrict a person from living their life to the full. Changing diet, exercising and reducing stress are recommended for managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Hypnotherapy could help you achieve this and create new, healthier habits.
Carolyn is a counsellor, hypnotherapist and supervisor based in Plymouth, UK. She offers counselling and hypnotherapy at her practice in Plymouth and online via Zoom.