What is IBS?
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can present in many forms. It is a gut-centred disorder that can result in pain, cramping, and bowel problems. It is widely associated with stress.
Stress can provoke feelings of anxiety and worry. Also, when the body is undergoing a period of stress one can fell overwhelmed or frantic. In response to a stress stimulus, the body will enter the “Fight or Flight response”,where the brain releases chemicals to help the body and body systems respond to danger. These chemicals can increase heart rate, increase breathing patterns, cause temperature changes in the body and cause muscles to contract. During periods of short-term stress these reactions in the body can help one think clearer, function better and become stronger in order to escape or solve the danger or circumstances that are causing the stress.
However, during extended periods of stress, the brain can overcompensate and too many chemicals can be released. This overload can lead to problems with the immune system, digestive system and even the heart. Without proper stress-relieving techniques in place, extended stress can eventually lead to long-term health problems, certain medical conditions and even disease.
These chemicals also act on the nerves in the colon and cause the intestines to contract or spasm, too fast or too slow. Under stress these spasms can speed up or slow down the digestive system to the point where there may be symptoms of diarrhoea or constipation. When the digestive system becomes overactive through the stress response, it may also produce excess wind. This will lead to bloating, cramping, and even severe abdominal pain.
Other situations where there may be exposure to a stress overload might include family problems, work or career issues, exam anxiety, any of which may trigger symptoms of IBS in some people. It is vital therefore that any therapy is underpinned by a clear understanding of all the factors involved in a particular client’s ‘stress profile’, so that effective treatment can be given
Extensive and on-going research by Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service has found extremely encouraging results for the correctly applied use of Hypnotherapy for IBS. Please click here for more information.
In a recent article by Lucy Elkins in the Daily Mail, a report into the effectiveness of various online IBS remedies had this to say about Hypnotherapy from Dr Nick Read:
“Gut-directed hypnotherapy has shown impressive results for IBS in the short-term, and hypnotherapy is mentioned in NICE guidelines for IBS. The combination of identifying stress factors and applying hypnotherapy as a means of relaxing the body and reducing the impact of stress will be of help to many.”
You might like to read further articles about the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the treatment of IBS here: