top of page

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is thought to affect as many as one in five of the population at any one time.   It's a condition that is often hidden by the person experiencing its symptoms.

Upset Stomach

Symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome can vary from person to person, but typically one or more of the following symptoms may be experienced:

  1. Constipation

  2. Diarrhoea

  3. Bloating (that may subside overnight, only to return the next day, and may occur after eating a meal)

  4. Flatulence

  5. Abdominal pain or cramps:

    • may, or may not, be reduced by passing a stool

    • may be specific to the lower right side or tucked up under the right ribs

    • tucked up under left ribs, or if the pain is particularly bad it may move into the left armpit

    • in women, left sided abdominal pain during sex

    • or more generalised pain or cramping

  6. Painful swallowing

  7. Noisy gurgling stomach (may be loud enough to cause social embarrassment)

  8. Variable, erratic and unpredictable bowel habits

  9. Severe short stabbing pains in the rectum

  10. Passing urine more often

  11. Fatigue

  12. Loss of appetite

  13. Nausea

  14. Depressive symptoms

  15. Anxiety and stress-related symptoms, which may interact with the gut symptoms

The media is certainly trying to move us towards a point where we are more comfortable talking about bloating, stomach cramps, constipation or diarrhoea, however, if you suffer from the condition, you will know how difficult it can be to talk about what can be very embarrassing symptoms.  For example, how do you tell the person interviewing you that you are suffering with severe flatulence?  How do you explain to the coach driver that you need to stop for the toilet (again, having only been 5 minutes previously)?  How do you leave in the middle the funeral to find a toilet?  Or how do you tell your new partner that you dare not go on a trip in case you have a bout of IBS?


If you are someone who suffers with irritable bowel syndrome, you will also know only too well that the symptoms can seriously affect and limit your ability to enjoy life to the full.  It is the severity and frequency of symptoms that can be most troublesome and intrusive for sufferers and it is a condition that can be notoriously difficult to treat successfully. Despite this, there are many cures and treatments recommended by the ‘experts’ and these include a large number of medications and herbal treatments (e.g. for diarrhoea, constipation, cramps and flatulence or bloating); dietary changes and restrictions; exercises – different types of exercise seem to be in vogue at different times (e.g. yoga is currently experiencing an elevated status as the exercise ‘cure’); and lifestyle changes or restrictions. However, the disappointing reality for IBS sufferers is that of the many treatments listed above, which are variable and often disappointing in their treatment outcomes, all aim to treat the symptoms, rather than removing or resolving the root cause of the irritable bowel syndrome.  This will mean that the person will always likely to have a susceptibility to IBS, the symptoms of which could be moderated with treatments, but that may always return.

How Hypnotherapy Can Help

There is now a considerable body of evidence supporting  the successful use of visualisation in trance for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.  This is often known as gut-related therapy. A short course of such a visualisation technique should be backed up by repetition at your own home using a CD or MP3 recording.  These methods have been shown to provide excellent relief and management of IBS symptoms.   As a result, you can boost self-confidence and self-esteem; it can help you build on your self-belief and you can find yourself being calm, self-assured and confident in situations where previously you may have experienced your most severe symptoms.

IAEBP therapists will place you at ease so that you feel comfortable and free to talk about your symptoms in a safe and friendly environment.  We understand how difficult it can be to talk about IBS and to seek help, but if you would like to manage your symptoms of IBS far better, we are confident that we can help you.

N.B.  Before engaging in any course of treatment, it is advisable to seek medical advice to ensure all other possible causes of your symptoms have been ruled out.

bottom of page