Do you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?
Do you find your IBS medication only deals with the symptoms but not the cause?
Did you know that stress and anxiety is a major cause of IBS?
Have you been taking your medication for a while but still suffer from IBS?
Did you know that hypnotherapy is a recognised treatment for IBS?
In fact, I personally had hypnotherapy for IBS about 20 years ago and have been free of IBS symptoms since. I know first hand how effective hypnotherapy can be for IBS.
IBS is a common disorder of the digestive system. It is not a disease that you can catch or pass on to others. It is believed that IBS is associated with increased sensitivity of the lining of the digestive system. While some people find they can manage their IBS, other people find it has a detrimental effect on the quality of their life.
What are the common IBS symptoms?
The common symptoms of IBS are:
- stomach cramps and pain
- lose of appetite
Many people who suffer from IBS need to plan their day around access to a toilet. Some even find it very difficult to leave their home to go to work, go on day trips or go for a meal out. Some symptoms such as cramps, fevers and diarrhoea can cause some people to take long periods off work which then has a financial impact too.
How does stress affect the digestive system?
About half of all IBS suffers say their IBS started when they had a stressful period in their life.
When you are stressed you naturally go into the ‘fight or flight’ response. This fight or flight response sets off a chain of events inside your body. Hormones and chemicals are released which put you in a state of high alert. This leads to blood being diverted from your digestive system to your brain and muscles so you can stay alert and take action.
The flight or fight response has existed since the time our ancestors lived in caves. But the modern fight or flight response cannot tell the difference between an angry boss or a ferocious tiger. Your body responds in exactly in the same way your ancestors’ bodies responded to dangerous animals. The same hormones and chemicals are released and your digestive system responds in the same way.
When you think about it, it makes complete sense. If you’re in a stressful situation, the last thing your body needs to do is digest the last meal you ate. The priority is to run away or attack the threat. That’s why in very dangerous situations some people vomit or even worse. The digestive system will expel a meal from the nearest exit if it cannot digest the meal.
Although your body is designed to cope with short term stress, long term stress can have a serious impact on the normal functioning of your digestive system. If you are constantly diverting blood away from the digestive system it can have a detrimental effect and lead to disorders such as IBS.
The nervous system and digestive system
Your autonomic nervous system unconsciously controls your digestive system. The part of the autonomic nervous system involved in regulation of the digestive system and IBS is your ‘gut-brain axis’ and vagus nerve. You cannot consciously control your gut-brain axis. Therefore, you can’t speed up or slow down your digestive system by consciously thinking about it.
The autonomic nervous system has two parts. One part speeds up processes, like an accelerator, and another part slows processes down, like a brake. Your fight or flight response is part of the ‘accelerator’ system. The flight or fight response speeds up your body’s processes so you can act as quickly as possible. Many studies have shown that gut directed hypnotherapy can help restore the natural balance and calm of the autonomic nervous system and is an effective treatment for IBS.
Why is hypnotherapy an effective IBS treatment?
Doctors often prescribe anti-spasm medication to relax the muscles of the digestive system which can help relieve stomach cramps. Doctors also sometimes prescribe laxatives or anti-diarrhoea medication to relieve some of the other symptoms. And in many cases doctors encourage IBS suffers to make lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise, improving sleep patterns and avoiding certain foods to reduce the frequency of the attacks.
Doctors can recommend stress management and relaxation therapy, such as hypnotherapy, when someone is not responding to medication. Hypnotherapy is considered to be a highly effective treatment for stress and anxiety and a large number of studies have shown that hypnotherapy is an effective treatment for IBS.
Hypnotherapy uses a state of deep relaxation to stimulate your body’s autonomic nervous system brake. It helps reset and restore the natural balance of your autonomic nervous system. The muscles of your gut start to relax when you are in a state of deep relaxation. This allows food to move through the digestive system in a normal way. The painful cramps and other symptoms begin to decrease when the digestive system starts to work normally again.
How can hypnotherapy help me with IBS?
Hypnotherapy also helps change your behaviour through the use of positive suggestions to help you cope better with the causes of your stress. It is important to help you change how you respond to situations that cause you to become stressed and anxious. Otherwise, your IBS will return when you are anxious. Hypnotherapy helps you deal with the causes of your stress and anxiety. This is why hypnotherapy is an effective IBS treatment.
So if you would like to find out how hypnotherapy can be an effective IBS treatment for you, and help restore the natural balance of your digestive system, please get in touch to book your free consultation.
Please note: Individual results can vary. There is no guarantee that hypnotherapy will be effective in every case. For hypnotherapy to be successful you need to be open to change and fully committed.