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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

“…all symptoms of pain, abdominal bloating, and bowel-habit disturbance as well as general well-being improved in patients who underwent treatment with hypnosis but not in those who received placebo medication and support.”

(Whorwell, Prior, & Faragher, 1984)

Irritable bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a relatively common condition in the UK, affecting approximately 20% of the population.Symptoms can develop at any age but often are first noticed between the ages of 20 and 30, with women twice as likely to experience it than men.One study indicated that 23% of IBS sufferers had not told anyone about their symptoms, only 50% had told their doctor, 66% carried a change of clothes and 3-% regularly used incontinence pads.

The good news is that there is effective help available!  Gut focused hypnotherapy has been shown to significantly improve symptoms and is now listed in the NICE Guidelines as a recognised IBS therapy approach.It was first used as part of a controlled clinical trial in Manchester, led by Professor Whorwell. have been lucky enough to attend a workshop with Professor Whorwell and am now able to offer Gut Focused Hypnotherapy to my clients where appropriate, supported by his dietary advice.

Types of IBS

IBS – A: Symptoms alternate between diarrhea and constipation.
IBS – C: Constipation is the main symptom.
IBS – D: Diarrhea is the main symptom

Additional symptoms can include:

Fear of eating
Negative impact on sexual intercourse (pain, incontinence, flatulence)
Chest and back pain
Urinary and gynaecological symptoms
Absence from work
Reduced quality of life

a man in suit holding his stomach in pain

How can Solution Focused Hypnotherapy help?

Yes! And here is the evidence:

  • 80% of females and 62% of males showed a statistically significant improvement in symptoms
  • Hypnotherapy results in reduced reactivity to foods
  • 60 – 70% response rate with sustained relief of all symptoms, resulting in:
  • Improved quality of life
  • Less time off work
  • Fewer GP consultations
  • Reduced medication needs.


How long will it take?
Professor Whorwell’s research suggests and initial consultation followed by up to 12 sessions, once a week. {Progress will be reviewed each week however and it is always your choice as to whether or not to book in for another appointment.

Do I need a formal diagnosis of IBS?
It is important that you consult your GP regarding your symptoms so that all possibilities can be investigated and other diagnoses ruled out.


What can I expect?

At the initial consultation, a case history will be taken along with an explanation as to how our thought processes can impact on IBS symptoms as well as creating anxiety, anger and depression. This appointment will allow the therapist to make a recommendation as to the therapy approach best suited to your needs as well as allowing you to decide if this is something you’d like to continue with. A free hypnotherapy recording will be provided for use at home.
The content of subsequent sessions will be discussed at the initial consultation appointment but may well include the dietary information that I have been given permission to share with clients in addition to Solution Focused therapy to reduce reducing any emotional symptoms you are experiencing and hypnotherapy.


References: available on request

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