Stress or feeling anxious is a common trigger of IBS symptoms. It’s not always possible to avoid stress but learning how to manage it better can really help. Being stressed or feeling anxious can have a direct impact on your bowels as well as your well being, so managing your stress levels is really important especially if you have IBS. Stress can arise from a perceived or actual event that disturbs the balance between mind, brain, and body and can occur with or without conscious feelings of anxiety, distress, or anger. Stress has been shown to increase motility and sensation of the colon to a greater degree in IBS patients compared to healthy individuals without IBS.
Around half of IBS sufferers say that their symptoms started at around the time of a major life event – like moving house, changing job, or a bereavement. IBS can be debilitating, preventing you from achieving simple tasks such as going shopping or enjoying long walks. It may also be causing you serious discomfort on a regular basis.
- Abdominal pain or cramps
- Change in bowel movements – diarrhoea, constipation or both
Other less common symptoms include
- Excess wind and gas
- Feeling like you haven’t fully emptied your bowels
- Occasional other symptoms like nausea, tiredness, muscle, back or joint pain
But imagine what it would be like to be completely free of IBS. Hypnotherapy can help you break the cycle of pain and anxiety related to IBS, and has done so for thousands of people. Research pioneered by Professor Whorwell, a Gastroenterologist at Wymthenshawe Hospital, shows that hypnotherapy can make significant contribution to the treatment of IBS. Whorwell began investigating the application of hypnotherapy for management of IBS in the 1980s and his research shows that over 60% of IBS sufferers who undertake hypnotherapy see long term improvement, or complete disappearance of symptoms, often with no recurrence.
Hypnotherapy is now acknowledged within the wider medical profession as an evidenced-based therapy that can help reduce the symptoms of IBS, and sometimes alleviate those symptoms entirely. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) also lists hypnotherapy as one of the treatments to help with IBS. We know that IBS can be exacerbated by anxiety or stress, and that the subsequent worry about the IBS can perpetuate the effects. Hypnotherapy can get to the root of the problem, giving you the tools to manage any stress that may be making the IBS worse, and by using positive suggestion increase your confidence in your well-being to reduce sensitivity in your gut.