This month marks IBS awareness week, an initiative that takes place every April with the purpose of expanding public knowledge of the condition while providing IBS sufferers with a worldwide support network.
The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) – who run the awareness month – estimate that the global prevalence of the condition currently stands at 9 – 23%, with many sufferers living undiagnosed, unaware their symptoms are indicative of a medically recognised disorder.
Today, online resource Hypnotherapy Directory explore IBS and its symptoms, and speak to two experts about how the process of hypnosis could bring relief to sufferers.
What is IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS, is a common digestive system disorder that can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
Commonly, symptoms of IBS present themselves for the first time when an individual is aged between 20 and 30 – usually in stints and often during periods of stress and anxiety or after consuming certain foods.
The cause of IBS is currently unknown, though many experts are of the opinion that it is in some way related to an increased sensitivity of the gut, caused by change in the body’s ability to move food, or due to a person becoming more sensitive to gut pain.
In addition, there is also evidence to suggest psychological factors could play a significant role in exacerbating symptoms – which is where hypnotherapy comes into play.
So what is hypnotherapy and how can it be used for the treatment of IBS?
“Hypnosis is a deep state of relaxation, which can be induced using self-hypnosis or professionally-led hypnosis.” Explains Sussex based hypnotherapist Becky Wells.
Becky, who works with IBS sufferers on a regular basis, explains that during this time attention is focused on a particular suggestion or topic, allowing the mind to take on board powerful suggestions and ideas.
It is these suggestions that foster positive change – enabling us to modify how we think and act.
What symptoms of IBS can hypnotherapy help with?
While hypnotherapy can’t claim to eradicate the root physiological cause of IBS, what it can do is help patients to deal with emotional stressors in a less harmful way.
The link between stress, anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome is currently unknown and experts are unable to say which of the two comes first. What they are more certain of however, is that:
- Stress and anxiety may make the mind more aware of spasms in the colon.
- IBS may be triggered by the immune system, which is affected by stress.
So how does the process of hypnotherapy really work to reduce IBS symptoms?
Hypnotherapy Directory spoke to Leicestershire based hypnotherapist Ann Finnemore to find out exactly how the IBS hypnotherapy process works:
“Hypnotherapy is believed to target the links that exist between the brain and the gut. For example, it is known that anxiety affects the movement and function of the digestive system and one way in which hypnotherapy works is by enabling a person to reduce their anxiety and to manage stress more effectively.”
Ann went on to explain how hypnosis also teaches a person to effectively re-establish control over the gut and restore more normal functioning. As a result of this, sufferers find that their IBS symptoms trouble them much less and they regain confidence about their lives.
For those who feel like they have tried everything to ease their IBS symptoms to no avail, professional hypnotherapy is a useful and natural resource that could help sufferers to influence and gain control of their functioning once again.
Living with IBS can be incredibly challenging at times but it is possible to manage symptoms and enjoy life. To find a hypnotherapist specialising in IBS, visit Hypnotherapy Directory today.
 Figures obtained from: http://www.aboutibs.org/site/living-with-ibs/ibs-awareness-month/