Hypnotherapy for IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Get rid of your IBS for good

At Manchester Hypnotherapy we’ve been helping people since 2008 to get rid of their IBS. This included many clients who suffered so badly they could not leave the house, work, drive, or do any of the everyday things they wanted to. Call us today on 077779 575 816 to see how we can help you! There’s no obligation to book an appointment. We’ll just help you find out more.

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 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 often also suffer. In total, between 5 and 7 million people are thought to suffer the pain, discomfort and inconvenience of IBS. 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. Or you may not always get the same symptoms. This also means your symptoms can be completely different from someone else who suffers.

Common Symptoms of IBS

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

Many sufferers also report anxiety about their symptoms. For many sufferers, the condition flares up 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 can’t turn into Crohn’s Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. It’s not an autoimmune disorder (such as arthritis or lupus). It isn’t caused by parasites, bacteria or toxins.

If you’re at all concerned about any of your symptoms, then you should see your GP. If you’ve got unexplained weight loss, difficulty swallowing, bloating that doesn’t go away, or persistent, painless diarrhoea, then you need 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 can show you have IBS. Because some of its symptoms overlap with other digestive disorders, you may have tests to rule these out. IBS means that your bowel function is impaired. However, you won’t have any obvious abnormalities or other symptoms which would lead to a diagnosis of disease. 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 of IBS, and can 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. And it’s also true that you can’t be relaxed AND anxious.

Relaxation and anxiety are mutually exclusive. It’s well documented that your body feels less pain when relaxed. Hypnotherapy increases relaxation, and reduces anxiety and the perception of pain.

Clinical Trials prove Hypnotherapy helps IBS

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

Hypnotherapy for IBS works by teaching you to influence and gain 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. Sessions “re-train” your stomach to get rid of the problem. The hypnosis is tailored for each individual so that someone with diarrhoea is asked to visualize building a dam, or blocking the river with rocks. But IBS sufferer with constipation would 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 improve. The other theory is that hypnotherapy affects the anterior cingulate cortex, which experiences pain. Hypnosis affects the mind, and we know without any doubt that the mind has an effect on bodily function. This is exactly what psychosomatic illness means!

Psychosomatic illness is not, as many people think, an imaginary illness, but one in which your thoughts and state of mind have in fact caused the 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 your mind – changing your thoughts, beliefs and ideas – you can improve your symptoms.

What causes IBS?

It is 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 you, threat of redundancy or problems with your relationship. Or maybe you first noticed your IBS after having gastric flu or another stomach upset. Whilst the causes of IBS are unclear, everyone agrees that it’s made worse by stress and anxiety.

“Gut feeling”

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

This is known as “fight or flight”. This works well when the threat you’re facing is, for example, 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 you’re ill, or just your thoughts going round and round aren’t helped by the fight or flight response.

Most modern day threat isn’t physical

However, your body still responds in the same way to these modern day “threats” as it did to real, physical threats in the past. It produces adrenalin (which enables you to run faster or fight more aggressively). It also produces other chemical changes which encourage you to empty your stomach. This is because you run faster and fight better on an empty stomach! So you feel sick or need the loo. If your body responds to stress by allowing you to run and fight better, then this gives you a better chance of survival.

This is why you may hear people talk of a “gut reaction” or of feeling “sick with worry”. Because the stomach responds to stress in this way, it is often the first symptom you notice when you’re anxious. If you suffer from 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 tend to pay it more attention than you should.

IBS is a vicious circle

You worry about it, increasing the level of stress and anxiety you feel. The anxiety this produces more IBS symptoms. This means you then worry more about the pain and the symptoms, increasing your stress levels and upsetting your stomach again. It gets worse and worse.

Food Triggers for IBS

You may find that certain foods trigger your symptoms. Try keeping a diary of everything you eat and drink for two weeks, with a note of when your symptoms flared up. This will help you to identify which foods you are sensitive to.

After the two weeks are finished, if for example you noticed your symptoms after drinking coffee, and this happened a few times, then try cutting out coffee for a week. Carry on writing 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 if your diary shows that cutting it out lessens your symptoms, then it’s probably a trigger and you should continue to avoid it. 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 triggers your own symptoms. Remember though 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 for ecample – produce excessive gas and can cause painful cramps. On the other hand however you might find that 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

Eat small meals, regularly. Try not to skip meals. Smaller meals are easier to digest than large ones. Many people report a flare up after eating too much.
Drink six to eight 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 prevents dehydration and helps digestion especially if your symptoms include diarrhoea.
Avoid artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol. Sugar free mints and gum often contain these
Avoid excessive alcohol.

Food Elimination for 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 symptoms flare 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 Manchester

The therapists at this south Manchester hypnotherapy clinic are Manchester’s top independently rated therapists. They specialise in anxiety, insomnia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome 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 Manchester, 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.

Manchester Hypnotherapy – proven IBS treatment

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