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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms and Treatment

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Symptoms & Treatment


An overview of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) reveals that it is a prevalent disorder affecting the gastrointestinal tract, causing symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and irregular bowel movements. It is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Although severe symptoms are rare, people with IBS can manage their symptoms effectively by making adjustments to their diet, lifestyle, and stress levels. For those with more severe symptoms, treatment options such as medication and counseling are available. It is worth noting that IBS does not cause any changes to bowel tissue and does not increase the risk of colorectal cancer.

What is a functional GI disorder?

Functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, also known as disorders of the gut-brain interaction, refer to a group of conditions that affect the coordination between the gut and brain. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an example of a functional GI disorder. These conditions result in heightened sensitivity in the digestive tract, causing changes in the contractions of bowel muscles, which can lead to abdominal pain, as well as diarrhea or constipation, or both.

What are the different types of IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is categorized by researchers based on the type of bowel movement issues experienced by individuals. This categorization is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment for the condition since certain medicines work better for specific types of IBS.

People with IBS often have varying bowel movements, with some days being normal and others being abnormal. The specific type of IBS is dependent on the kind of abnormal bowel movements experienced. These categories include:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C): In this type, the majority of bowel movements are hard and lumpy.
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): This type is characterized by loose and watery bowel movements.
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): This type involves both hard and lumpy bowel movements and loose and watery movements occurring on the same day.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is commonly characterized by several symptoms, including:

  • Abdominal (stomach) pain and cramping, which can be alleviated by bowel movements
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea, constipation, or a combination of both
  • Swelling and bloating of the stomach
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Occasional urgent bowel movements

Aside from these common symptoms, some people with IBS may experience less common symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • Nausea or feeling sick
  • Heartburn

Treatment options for IBS

The main goal of treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is to alleviate symptoms to improve the patient’s quality of life. Mild symptoms can often be managed by making changes to one’s diet and lifestyle to manage stress. The following tips may help:

  • Avoid consuming foods that trigger your symptoms
  • Increase your intake of high-fiber foods
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get enough sleep

Your healthcare provider may suggest removing certain foods from your diet to alleviate your symptoms, such as:

  • High-gas foods that may cause bloating or gas, such as carbonated and alcoholic beverages
  • Gluten, which can cause diarrhea symptoms in some people with IBS, even if they do not have celiac disease
  • FODMAPs, are a group of certain carbohydrates such as fructose, fructans, lactose, and polyols that can be found in some grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Some individuals with IBS may be sensitive to FODMAPs.

Hypnotherapy for IBS Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy (GDH)

Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy, also known as IBS Hypnotherapy, is a proven and effective treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It has been supported by numerous clinical trials, demonstrating its ability to provide long-lasting relief from IBS symptoms. This therapy is especially useful in treating chronic cases of IBS that have not responded to other treatments.

How Effective Is Hypnotherapy For IBS? Key Research Findings

Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy has emerged as one of the most effective treatments for IBS. Clinical research supports this claim, demonstrating that a significant proportion of patients experience positive outcomes after undergoing hypnotherapy.

One of the most cited studies in this field comes from Professor Olafur Palsson, a renowned psychologist, and researcher. In his 2006 study, Palsson found that more than 80% of IBS patients experienced an improvement in their symptoms after undergoing a course of Gut-Directed Hypnotherapy.

A study by Gonsalkorale et al (2003) also supports the effectiveness of IBS hypnotherapy. In this research study, 71% of patients who underwent hypnotherapy experienced a positive response not only in terms of symptom relief but also an overall improvement in their condition.

These clinical research studies are just two of many that highlight the remarkable success rate of hypnotherapy as a viable and effective treatment option for those suffering from IBS.

How Long Do The Benefits of Hypnotherapy For IBS Last?

Research suggests that IBS symptom relief can last for several years. One study found that 73% of IBS patients who underwent hypnotherapy experienced a significant improvement in IBS symptoms that lasted, on average, four years, but in some patients, as long as seven years. (Lindfors et al, 2012)

In another study, 81% of patients who initially responded to hypnotherapy were still better five years later, and the remaining 19% experienced only a slight reduction in the improvement of symptoms. (Gonsalkorale et al, 2003)

So, the benefits of hypnotherapy for IBS last for years. In the small minority of patients, when IBS flares again, the symptoms are very mild.

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