What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

I am grateful to the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service (www.ibscare.org) for providing the following information:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a term used to describe functional disorders of the gut in which tests for bowel cancer and inflammatory conditions such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease have proved negative. There is no structural damage to the gut, and there is no test, scan or X-ray that confirms the presence of IBS or demonstrates the problem. Perception of IBS is very poor; as it appears to have no physical cause and medical (drug) therapy is largely ineffective, it is often dismissed as “psychological” – a nuisance rather than a serious condition. It is surprisingly common, affecting as many as 10-15% of the population.

Colonic Symptoms

  • Stomach achePain anywhere in the abdomen
  • Abdominal distension- bloating (girth can increase by up to 12 cm in a day)
  • Disordered bowel habit
  • diarrhoea
  • constipation
  • alternating diarrhoea and constipation
  • Pain often severe (sometimes described as being as bad or worse than child birth)
  • In the diarrhoeal form of IBS, urgency, many patients suffer incontinence episodes
  • Negative impact on confidence and self esteem
  • Exaggerated gastro-colonic reflex, every time the sufferer eats they feel urgent need to rush to the toilet to open bowels
  • Become afraid to eat
  • House bound – feels like having permanent gastroenteritis
  • Constipation patients may not open bowels for 1 or even 2 weeks at a time

Non-colonic Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Thigh pain
  • Backache
  • Lethargy
  • Urinary symptoms
  • Gynaecological symptoms
  • Also the cause of absenteeism from work
  • Poor quality of life 

How can hypnotherapy help?

Since IBS is a condition with no known physical cause, perhaps it is not surprising that it responds well to hypnotherapy. Usually a course of between one and four sessions of suggestion therapy is sufficient to begin to notice a real improvement in symptoms.

Most people are well aware of the sensitivity of the gastro-intestinal tract to pressure, worry and anxiety. Symptoms ranging from nervous “butterflies” to the loosening of the bowels in times of extreme stress have been experienced by nearly everyone at some time in their life. Hypnotherapy harnesses the same powerful subconscious mind, but in a positive way, to reduce or eliminate such symptoms.

Dietary advice

With thanks to the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service (www.ibscare.org). 

  • Cereal fibre free diet, no brown bread, no brown rice, no brown pasta
  • Can eat white bread, rice and pasta.
  • Vegetables which cause most problems are broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and sprouts - the leafy greens.
  • Beans, lentils and pulses, nuts and seeds also can be problem
  • Fruits that are worst offenders are pears, apples and citrus fruits
  • Avoid chocolate
  • Avoid coffee and/or tea
  • Avoid high fat foods including dairy foods
  • Avoid alcohol