Hypnotherapy for IBS – Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Let us help you get rid of your IBS for good

At Stockport Hypnotherapy we’ve been helping people just like you for 11 years to get rid of IBS. This has included many clients who suffered so badly they could not leave the house, work, drive, or do any of the normal everyday things they wanted to. Call us today on 077779 585 816 to see how we can help you! There’s no obligation to book an appointment. We’ll just help you find out more.

So, what is IBS?

IBS means your bowel isn’t functioning that well at the moment. It’s not classed as a disease, and there’s no test for it. Things just don’t work properly. The main causes are stress and anxiety. In some people, certain foods can trigger IBS. But whatever the cause is, reducing your anxiety will improve IBS.

How common is IBS?

IBS is very common. Between 5% and 10% of people are affected. It’s more common in women. Children also suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. In total, between 5 and 7 million UK people are thought to suffer the pain, discomfort and inconvenience this problem causes. The symptoms vary from person to person, from severe and life-changing, to mild.

There are many different symptoms. So you might get all, or just some, at a time. You might not even always get the same symptoms you had last time. This means, too, that you can have completely different symptoms from another person who suffers.

Common Symptoms of IBS

These are stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. Which symptoms you get depend upon which part of your digestive system is affected. IBS can affect any part of the digestive system from the mouth downwards. This is why people experience it in so many different ways. Some people with IBS also experience lethargy, insomnia, lower back pain, headaches and migraine, nausea and bladder problems.

Many sufferers also report anxiety about their symptoms. For many people, the condition flares up badly during panic attacks.

So, we know what IBS is – but what is it NOT??!!

IBS can be very distressing. But it doesn’t cause bowel cancer or damage to the bowel. IBS cannot turn into Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. It’s not an autoimmune disorder (such as arthritis or lupus). It’s not caused by the presence of parasites, bacteria or toxins.

If you are at all concerned about any of your symptoms, then you should see your GP. So if you have difficulty swallowing, unexplained weight loss, bloating that doesn’t go away, or persistent, painless diarrhoea, then you should seek the advice of your GP, just to rule out other problems. But IBS isn’t dangerous or life threatening. It’s just inconvenient and annoying. But it IS treatable.

Is there a test for IBS?

There is no one test that will show you have IBS. Because some of the symptoms overlap with other digestive disorders, you may have tests to rule out these out. IBS means that your bowel function is impaired. But you won’t have any obvious abnormalities or other symptoms which would lead to a disease being diagnosed. Your bowel simply doesn’t work as well as it should.

This means that if you can control the symptoms and pain of IBS, then you can live an IBS free existence. Hypnotherapy is proven to help the symptoms, and can also help you with pain management. Hypnosis involves a very deep state of relaxation. It’s true that you can’t be hot and cold, or hungry and full, at the same time. It’s also true you can’t be both relaxed and anxious.

Relaxation and anxiety are mutually exclusive. It is well documented that your body perceives less pain when relaxed. Hypnotherapy increases relaxation, and reduces your anxiety and pain levels.

Clinical trials have proved that hypnotherapy helps IBS

Peter Whorwell is Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology at Manchester University Medical School. He’s researched and used hypnotherapy as an effective treatment for IBS for many years. Clinical trials have shown that hypnotherapy successfully treats IBS in more than 70% of cases.

Hypnotherapy for IBS works by teaching you to influence and control of gut function, as well as reducing anxiety and helping pain management. Hypnotherapy sessions reduce the anxiety which is such a significant factor in IBS. You will learn to re-train your stomach in order to get rid of the problem. The hypnosis is tailored for each individual so, for example, someone with diarrhoea is asked to visualize building a dam, or blocking the river with rocks. But if you are an IBS sufferer with constipation you would instead think about rocks blocking the flow, and imagining sweeping these obstacles away.

How does hypnosis for IBS work?

There are two theories why hypnotherapy works to help IBS. One is that increasing relaxation and reducing anxiety means that the bowel reacts less, and symptoms lessen. The other is that hypnotherapy affects the anterior cingulate cortex, which experiences pain. Hypnosis affects the mind, and there’s no doubt that the mind has an effect on bodily functio. In fact, this is exactly what is meant by psychosomatic illness.

Psychosomatic illness is not, as you might think, an imaginary illness. It’s an illness where your thoughts and state of mind have in fact caused the (very real) symptoms. There are many other illnesses which are made much worse by stress. For example tinnitus and restless leg syndrome get much worse when you’re stressed. By treating the mind – changing your thoughts, beliefs and ideas – you can improve your symptoms.

What causes IBS?

It’s not really known what causes IBS. However, maybe you first noticed your symptoms around the same time as experiencing a very stressful event. This might be a new job, moving house, or illness or death of someone close to them, the threat of redundancy or an emotional problem, for example. Or maybe your first noticed your IBS  after having gastric flu or another stomach upset. Whilst the causes of IBS are unclear, everyone agrees that its’s made worse by stress and anxiety.

“Gut feeling”

The stomach is also known as the secondary nervous system. Perhaps you’ve noticed that at times of anxiety and stress, your stomach turns over, churns or you get “butterflies”. You may feel nauseous, suffer with pain, or even with vomiting and/or diarrhoea. When you experience stress and anxiety, your body automatically responds. It makes chemical and physical changes which, historically, gave us the best chance of surviving the threat.

This is known as “fight or flight”. This works well when the threat you are facing is, say, a fierce animal or an angry person. But it doesn’t work at all to deal with most of modern life’s difficulties – stress at work, emotional problems, fear of flying, money worries, worrying that you’re ill, or just your thoughts going round and round.

However, your body still responds in the same way to these modern day “threats” as it did to physical threats in the past for example producing adrenalin (which enables us to run faster or fight more aggressively), and also producing other chemical changes which encourage emptying of the stomach – you run faster and fight better on an empty stomach – causing you to feel sick or need the loo. The “fight or flight response” – our body responding to stress by enabling you to run and fight better – exist because these abilities give you a better chance of survival.

This is why you may hear people talk of a “gut reaction” or of feeling “sick wth worry”. Because the stomach responds to stress in this way, it is often the first symptom you notice when you are anxious. If you have IBS then your bowel is probably particularly sensitive to stress. Also, when you notice a problem with your body, such as the discomfort and inconvenience of IBS, you’re more sensitive to this too.

IBS is a vicius circle

You tend to pay it more attention than you otherwise would, and you worry about it, increasing your level of stress and anxiety. In turn this produces more IBS symptoms. You then worry more about your pain and the symptoms, increasing your stress levels and upsetting your stomach again. It’s a vicious circle.

Food Triggers for IBS

Some people – but not all – with IBS find that certain foods trigger their symptoms. Try keeping a diary of everything you eat and drink for two weeks, with a note of when your IBS symptoms flared up. This will help you to identify which foods you are sensitive to. If for example you notice your IBS symptoms after drinking coffee, and this happens on a number of occasions during the time you keep your diary, then try cutting out coffee for a week, whilst continuing with the diary.

If cutting out the food or drink makes no difference then it may simply have been coincidence that your symptoms flared up afterwards; however your diary shows that cutting it out lessens your IBS symptoms, then it is likely that it was a trigger and you should continue to exclude it from your diet. You can continue this trial and error approach, gradually identifying and cutting out one type of food or drink at a time.

The worst IBS triggers

IBS is thought to be particularly affected by the following, but everyone is different and you should try and discover what it is that triggers your own IBS. Though bear in mind that for some people food does not seem to be a trigger.

Diary products – milk, cream, ice cream and sour cream (and products containing these ingredients) contain lactose which can be hard for some individuals to digest. This can trigger IBS. However the bacteria found in yoghurt and cheese is thought to help digest the lactose, and do not seem to be a trigger.
Some vegetables and pulses – cabbage, broccoli, onion and beans produce excessive gas and can cause painful cramps. But you might find these foods help to reduce your symptoms.
Citrus fruits – lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits seem to worsen IBS in some sufferers.
Spicy foods.

Apart from hypnotherapy, what else can I do to help IBS?

Eat small meals at regular intervals. Try not to skip meals. Smaller meals are easier to digest than large meals. Many sufferers of IBS report symptoms flaring up after over eating.
Drink 6 to 8 small glasses of fluid every day. Avoid caffeine and fizzy drinks, although unless you are very sensitive to caffeine, the odd cup of coffee now and then won’t be a disaster. Tea, diluted soft drinks, still water and herbal teas are fine – mint tea is particularly good for helping an upset stomach. There is high water content in these fluids – this helps digestion and prevents dehydration. So if your IBS symptoms include diarrhoea, this is particularly helpful.
Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol – sugar free mints and gum often contain these.
Avoid excessive alcohol.

Food Elimination to help IBS

Keep a food diary to identify which foods and drinks make your IBS worse, and then try cutting out these foods or drinks to see if there is an improvement in your symptoms when those things are excluded. Eliminate them ONE AT A TIME from your diet for 10-14 days and note down whether your IBS flares up less during this period.
Physical exercise improves digestion and helps anxiety and stress. This need not involve going to the gym or for a run – gardening, cleaning or any physical activity will do!
Relaxation techniques and self hypnosis have both been shown to be hugely helpful in relieving the symptoms of IBS.

Treatment for IBS in Stockport

The therapists at this Stockport hypnotherapy clinic are the UK’s top independently rated therapists. They specialise in anxiety, insomnia, IBS and phobia treatment. If you are looking for hypnotherapists in south Manchester to help IBS, stress and anxietyclaustrophobiafear of flyingemotional problems such as jealousy and insecurity, panic attacks, or low self esteem, then go to any of the independent websites which list and give reviews of hypnotherapists (for example www.freeindex.co.uk – you can also see reviews on Google) and see what others say about us.

If you would like further information about hypnosis in Stockport, for insomnia, to stop smokingtinnitusself esteem and confidencedepression, for help with weight loss, to stop nail biting and other bad habits such as teeth grinding, or for any other problem, please call 07779 575 816 for a free confidential discussion.

Stockport Hypnotherapy – proven IBS treatment

Hypnosis and hypnotherapy in Didsbury, Manchester. Convenient for Stockport, Chorlton, Gatley, Cheadle, Altrincham, Hale, Bowdon and all areas of south and central Manchester. Click here for further details of how to find us.