What is IBS?

IBS is a common condition that affects the digestive system.

Background: the colon consists of ascending colon (right), transverse colon, descending colon (left) and sigmoid colon which empties into the rectum.  Food digest enters the ascending colon and caecum via the ileo-caecal valve which is normally closed.  When a peristaltic wave reaches this point the valve opens briefly.  In addition, when food empties from the stomach, the valve opens which is also known as the gastro-colic reflex.  The muscles of the colon work by peristalsis – wave action and mass action contraction.

The transit time for the food to reach the caecum is usually about 4 hours and to the colon up to 8 hours.  A test meal may often be found in the rectum some 72 hours later after initial ingestion.

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

It causes symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. These tend to come and go over time, and can last for days, weeks or months at a time.  These symptoms are often an exaggeration of normal physiology.

What are the Causes of IBS?

The exact cause is unknown – it’s been linked to things like food passing through your gut too quickly or too slowly, oversensitive nerves in your gut, stress, and a family history of IBS.

In almost all cases the symptoms can be related to upsets, long term, stress anxiety or some family related problem.  In the vast majority of cases the diagnosis will already have been given, however ask your client to see a doctor if they have not already done so as abdominal pain may have pathology.

How Long Does IBS last?

It’s usually a lifelong problem. It can be very frustrating to live with and can have a big impact on your everyday life.

How to Manage IBS

There’s no cure, but diet changes and medicines can often help control the symptoms.  Dietary advice includes limiting foods to bland foods during attacks and avoiding cabbage, turnips, coffee, alcohol and tobacco completely.

Bulking agents can prove useful and antispasmodics/anticholinergics are sometimes prescribed in severe cases.

N.B. Dietary advice generally has not shown to be effective in the prevention of IBS

Hypnotherapy and in particular gut directed therapy can sometimes be prescribed on the NHS since it has been shown to be very effective in controlled trials, but the patient waiting times are very long.

How Can I Help You?

Clients respond to hypnotherapy rapidly and usually 3 sessions are all that are normally required. However continual self-hypnosis is advised.  We will examine when the symptoms first appeared, what exacerbates the situation, how severe the pain is on a scale of 1 to 10, what does it stop the client from doing, what steps have been taken in the past to solve the problem, what medication is being taken, how much of a problem the pain causes and if there is any warning prior to the attacks?  Also, does the client suffer from lack of confidence?  Are there any other complicating symptoms?

On completion we will set out a treatment plan.  It will involve a clear commitment from the client.