Hypnotherapy for IBS

Relax your mind and your gut

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of the digestive system. It affects one-third of people in the UK at some point and to some extent, and one in ten people have symptoms bad enough to visit their doctor. IBS is characterised by a collection of symptoms affecting the small or large bowel, which can cause pain and discomfort.

The exact causes of IBS are unknown. IBS sufferers usually have no physical abnormalities in the bowel, so it has been suggested that there is a strong link between stress and IBS.

What seems to happen with Irritable Bowel Syndrome is that the bowel becomes super sensitive and responds with violent contractions or spasms to stimuli such as stress or simply eating a meal. It is these responses that we can alleviate using hypnotherapy for IBS.

Paul White talking about hypnotherapy
for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

hypnotherapy for IBS

Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome include abdominal pain, diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort, abdominal distension, constipation, or an otherwise unexplained change in bowel movements. Hypnotherapy for IBS can help with the symptoms, but the diagnosis should always be confirmed by a qualified medical practitioner before seeking treatment from us.

How can hypnotherapy for IBS help?

 The GP will usually treat the IBS symptomatically.  This means if the client/patient has constipation, they will be prescribed laxatives; if they have diarrhoea, they will be prescribed something like Imodium; if they have nausea, they will be prescribed an anti-sickness pill; if they have a gut spasm, they will be prescribed an anti-spasmodic and so on. 

All medications have side effects.  Most patients want to make the reduction of medication their long-term goal.  

Hypnotherapy for IBS could help in the following ways:

  • Helping you to relax, easing the symptoms if they are triggered by stress.
  • Teaching you powerful creative visualisation techniques to imagine relief for your symptoms.
  • Programming in a new, positive reaction to stress triggers.
  • Helping you to use gut-directed hypnotherapy at home

Does hypnotherapy work for IBS?

Thanks largely to the research of Professor Peter Whorwell of Wythenshawe University Hospital, Manchester, hypnotherapy is now acknowledged by the medical profession as an effective treatment for IBS. Our hypnotherapy treatment is based completely on his work.

It is well known that there is a strong link between anxiety and IBS and most suffers report that the symptoms of IBS are related to stress.

The bowel and IBS facts

Other names for IBS

  • Irritable colon.
  • Spastic colon.
  • Mucous colitis.

These names are misleading because IBS is not limited to the colon.
Your bowel, or gut, extends from your stomach to your anus. It is made up of the small intestine and the large intestine. Their job is to process food from the stomach.

The normal bowel moves food along the intestines through muscular contractions, known as propulsion. There are also areas of hold-up, known as segmentation.

The medical approach

Hypnotherapy for IBS

The medical management of patients with IBS is often unsatisfactory.  Doctors are still taught that IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion, and patients readily sense that they are being told that nothing is really wrong with them.  Many people soon come to appreciate that the range of medical treatments available is limited in both scope and efficacy.  The mood of negativity, once established, is difficult to dispel.

IBS is best regarded as a complex of symptoms without a single cause.  Disordered gut motility, visceral hypersensitivity, intestinal inflammation and genetic and environmental factors have all been suggested as being causative.  In some cases, a very well defined point of onset of syndrome symptoms seems to exist, such as after gastrointestinal infection. 

Although heterogeneity is likely, the most plausible view is that the symptoms of IBS are an integrated response to a variety of complex interactions combining biological and psychosocial factors.  This implies that in many cases psychological and social factors contribute to the patient’s symptoms. 

The concept of IBS as a disorder of brain-gut interaction with physical and psychological components, which places the emphasis on the perception of symptoms and their impact rather than on the symptoms themselves, is a useful one when selecting treatment strategies.’ Notes from BMJ (British Medical Journal

“It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.” 


Using hypnotherapy for IBS

This combination of propulsion and segmentation is called peristalsis. You are completely unaware of it when it is working normally. The control of peristalsis is complex.

The best way to regard IBS is as a loss of coordination of these muscular contractions. by using hypnotherapy for IBS we help you get back in control of the peristalsis process speeding it up or slowing it down depending on what is needed.

In addition, there is evidence that people with irritable bowel syndrome have increased sensitivity within the gut to external stimuli such as stress. This means IBS is often the outcome of a complex interaction between psychological and physical factors. With hypnotherapy for IBS we aim to reduce the sensitivity within the gut.

A disorder of the digestive system can affect the gut anywhere from the mouth to the anus, which accounts for the diversity of symptoms seen in IBS. However your IBS affects you, we will use hypnotherapy for IBS to address any symptoms.

Possible factors in the development of IBS  

Highly sensitive gut – this may be exacerbated by stress or could be triggered by a bout of food poisoning (gastroenteritis), a long course of antibiotics, smoking (nicotine speeds the digestion up) etc.

Erratic eating patterns – nb.  IBS is very common in young women who typically go on diets, are faddy eaters, skip meals, binge eat and are more likely to have erratic eating patterns.  High-fibre diets are also not advised 

Food intolerances & Candida – certain foods are common ‘triggers’, milk and other dairy products, yeast, wheat and alcohol are just a few worth mentioning.

Stress – either one major stress event or a combination of lots of life changes and events that the person has struggled to deal with.  Correlation with early separation anxiety (ie. In early or formative years – up to the age of 7 – parents divorced, loss of a parent, separation from close friends, close relatives or moving home); this is quite often triggered again when as a teenager they leave home – another separation.  On average boys stay at the parental home longer than girls, who tend to grow up more quickly and fly the nest earlier.  This may be why IBS is more common in girls/women.