Bloating, constipation, cramps and diarrhoea - just some of the physical symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) that clients tell me about when they first seek my help. However, IBS has far wider-reaching consequences for most suffers. It can cause extensive anxiety, worry and embarrassment for many sufferers, that can negatively affect all aspects of a person’s life - from their relationships, work, and social activities. As a complex, functional gastric disorder, the causes of IBS are still unclear, but may involve a combination of hypersensitivity in the gut, as well as irregular mobility in how the gut functions. Other aspects may include variations in gut bacteria and diet.
The impact of stress on IBS
The chemical nature of stress, worry oranxiety makes the symptoms of IBS even worse, and this in turn often increases the negative emotional states associated with the condition - creating an unhelpful cycle of emotional upset and physical discomfort.
Hypnotherapy can help break this cycle. It can help reduce anxiety and stress levels, which can lead to improvements in the frequency and intensity of symptoms (including pain), but it can also help sufferers to develop strategies to effectively deal with stress and anxiety for longer-term improvements. In addition to this, it can help individuals to take control of their lives and to build confidence and self-esteem, which can also be affected when experiencing health issues. In combination, these benefits help individuals to reconnect with their lives, so that they can be free to enjoy activities, be spontaneous and spend time with friends, family and work colleagues. This is also why, since 2008, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has suggested Hypnotherapy as a suitable intervention for IBS.
Treating Anxiety, Stress and Pain are my particular areas of specialty, and are particularly relevant in combination when treating symptoms of IBS. I have helped many individuals to overcome and manage their IBS, and as an active area of research also provide talks and training to other therapists in this area.