IBS is a malfunction of the gastrointestinal tract: the digestive process involves food being moved through the system by muscles expanding and contracting, with IBS this rhythm is erratic, either it works too fast or sometimes it works too slowly. As food passes through the gastrointestinal tract water is absorbed from it, if the food moves too quickly not enough water is absorbed causing diarrhoea, when it moves too lowly too much water is absorbed causing constipation With IBS, come symptoms including cramping pain, wind, nausea,bloating and muscle pain.
What can hypnotherapy do to help? Whatever the initial cause of IBS, it is generally agreed that stress can be a trigger, hypnotherapy can assist in controlling the stress response. The sufferer can add to their stress through anticipating an episode when life/work commitments would make this very difficult, utilising therapeutic metaphors to re-programme that conditioned reaction is very helpful, along with re-framing the response to the IBS. It is often worth examining when the first episode of IBS occurred, to look for potential triggers or traumas that could be worked with, to neutralise their impact upon the IBS sufferer.
There has been significant research into the efficacy of hypnotherapy for treating IBS, including the pioneering work by Dr Wendy M Gonsalkorale, which has led to it being recommended as a treatment option in the NICE guidelines for the NHS, sadly funding is limited but the recognition for hypnotherapy as a treatment option is to be welcomed.