Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is not a disease.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a physical problem that many people have to put up with on a daily basis. There is no cure because IBS is not a disease, it's what the medical world terms a functional disorder, characterised as a brain-gut dysfunction. However, it is still misunderstood by some trained medical practitioners and frequently treated as a psychological condition. IBS is very real and can be devastating to an individual's enjoyment of life.

IBS is also a more common problem than many might imagine.

Percentage of population suffering IBS symptoms
UK 10%
US 15%
Japan 10%
Canada 6%
Brazil 43%

But what exactly is it?

Well it turns out that the medical world has decided that what it is is not something else. By that I mean that when other possibilities for the symptoms have been eliminated - then the diagnosis is IBS. It is largely a diagnosis by exclusion.

IBS is a term used to describe a collection of symptoms that suggest a lack of normal gut function, but the symptoms are not consistent from individual to individual. There is individual variation. However, the most significant aspect is abdominal pain/discomfort accompanied by change in defecation frequency and/or a change in stool consistency.

One important point that I cannot stress too highly.

IBS cannot and should not be self-diagnosed.

This is because some IBS symptoms are also symptoms of other more serious, and other less serious, problems that are medically treatable. If you suspect you have IBS then visit your medical practitioner for confirmation. If your suspicion is confirmed then you can consider what would be your best course of action.

Hypnotherapy for IBS is the most effective course of treatment.

IBS treatment is one of the few health problems where hypnotherapy has been tested extensively and found to be the most effective course of treatment. This is partly because the medical world has no cure to give IBS sufferers all they can really offer is painkillers, and dietary advice. Hypnosis is a very powerful technique to use to relieve pain and discomfort and in my own experience, even healing of problems the medical world has given up on.

Dr Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the Manchester School of Medicine, says “We’ve found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few,” he said. “As IBS can be a life-long condition it could clearly be a very valuable option for patients; however it is not suitable for everyone and women tend to respond better than men.”

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“IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body,” Professor Whorwell explained. “During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity.”

Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the Manchester School of Medicine

Because a link has been established between irritable bowel syndrome and stress, treating the stress may relieve the symptoms of IBS. Stress management, behavioral therapy and even hypnosis have proven to be effective in irritable bowel syndrome treatment plans.

Patsy Hamilton

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