Irritable Bowel Syndrome, IBS and Anxiety

Lots of you out there are suffering with IBS, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, for those not in the know.

The symptoms are not much fun and the treatment from doctors can often lead to confusion. There is something wrong but they don’t know what it is, they just know you are in pain and are afraid that you will be running for the loo in a public place. The gut is a mysterious place and doctors don’t like mysteries they like facts. You can’t treat a mystery!

Hypnotherapists make a lot of claims about a lot of things but treatment for IBS is actually recommended by NHS in the UK or to be more precise the NICE guidelines give the green light. This is partly due to the long standing work by Professor Whorwel in Manchester who has been studying and treating IBS with hypnosis. It takes years to convince, and rightly so, that a treatment actually works but Hypnotherapy and IBS do come up trumps.

The gut is a bundle of nerves, literally. It seems highly probably that a treatment like hypnotherapy which works on the nerves, reducing adrenaline etc, is going to calm down a flighty stomach.

Some symptoms of IBS sound very similar to panic attacks. An onset of symptoms when travelling, the fear of public humiliation, the dread and avoidance. Learning how to reduce the overactive buzzy feeling within the body puts the sufferer in a stronger position, increased control leads to calmer feelings.

There is seems to be no clear answer as to why or even how the gut gets into the state it does. Sometimes an illness sensitises the gut which creates a wobble in the mind and body. This is another parallel to panic attacks which often develop from a small physical upset which somehow keeps resonating in the system. The sufferer is then left in doubt and maybe fear that the symptoms will recur, which can set up a self-fulfilling prophecy. The old mind over matter syndrome but with a negative spiral. A positive spiral is hopefully created by the hypnotherapist, building confidence and control.

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Andrew Cunningham

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