IBS - a Pain in the Gut
Irritable Bowel Syndrome – A Pain in the Gut!
IBS affects at least one third of the British population, with twice as many women as men complaining of symptoms. Hospital admissions run at well over 5,000 per year, 70% of which are women. IBS quite often starts between the ages of 15-40, but can start at any age.
So what exactly is IBS and how do you know if you suffer from it?
Firstly, it is important to note that IBS is a disorder and not a disease, and is rarely life threatening. IBS is caused by bowel dysfunction, and the many resulting symptoms may include some or all of the following: diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, bloating, pain and discomfort in any part of the intestines, headaches, full bladder or bowel feeling, incontinence, lack of sex drive, disturbed sleep and lack of sex drive. Not everyone has the same set of symptoms, but if you recognise that you have several on this list, chances are that you are one those unfortunates who suffers from IBS.
The Link between IBS and Stress
A lot research is being done on IBS but the cause is not yet fully understood, although stress, anxiety and depression can frequently trigger bouts of the disorder. A visit to your GP is recommended, in order to rule out more serious bowel disorders that might require treatment. There is no suggestion of a cure at present, but your GP may offer you antispasmodic drugs, which in some cases can prove helpful in the short term but will not necessarily prove to be the magic bullet that will cure the problem
All clients who come to see me for hypnotherapy are required to complete a confidential Intake form which includes questions about IBS symptoms. My personal research, based on 16 years of seeing clients, shows that approximately 75% of them have at least two IBS symptoms and frequently more, with a high percentage already knowing they suffer from this painful disorder. However, as every client that I see has a degree of anxiety, no matter what their problem, then this is perhaps hardly surprising.
Inexorable Link between Mind and Body
Put simply, the powerful and inexorable link between the mind and the body means that if your mind is over-cluttered with stressful thoughts about your work, flying, relationships, weight or alcohol problems, financial issues – or anything else that causes you to keep thinking about it in an anxious way over and over and over again – then your body will reflect that state of mind and may well produce IBS symptoms.
When I complete a course of hypnotherapy with each of my clients (generally around 6 sessions), I always refer back to the notes on their form and ask them if any of the symptoms still persists. They are generally very happy to tell me, often with some surprise, that the symptoms have either dramatically reduced or disappeared!
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