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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a serious wake-up call…
One day you’re eating chorizo-filled burritos and French fries without so much as a stomach grumble.
The next, you’re cautiously chewing brown rice, vegetables and baked chicken praying it won’t send you running to the bathroom for a cataclysmic bowel evacuation.
Every day, you’re plagued with diarrhea, cramping, bloating, constipation, indigestion, fatigue… and it came out of nowhere.
The bad news is, no one knows for sure why IBS strikes some and spares others. It’s a mysterious disease. But despite its mysteriousness, there is one thing we do know about IBS — it’s closely linked to your mind and emotions.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s all in your head. But just like most other diseases, stress is a major trigger for IBS. And managing stress could be your path back to a gut that doesn’t cause you grief every time you eat…
2 therapies that go to the root of IBS relief
A new study from researchers at the University of Southampton and King’s College London shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) could offer serious relief to people with IBS.
The trial included 558 people who had long-term, severe IBS symptoms that didn’t respond to other treatments. Researchers asked them to participate in eight sessions of an IBS-specific Cognitive Behavioral Therapy program.
After a year, people who participated in CBT had less severe symptoms and significant improvements in their work and social lives compared to people who received other IBS treatments.
In case you’re not familiar with CBT, it’s a type of psychotherapy that helps you identify dysfunctional thoughts and feelings and swap them for more functional (and realistic) ones. It’s helpful for anxiety, depression, addiction, phobias and, now it seems, IBS.
Of course, this isn’t the first time a deep dive into the mind has helped people with IBS. A small study conducted earlier this year found that IBS sufferers who underwent hypnotherapy experienced significant improvements in things like abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and bowel function.
They also saw improvements in nausea, headaches, heartburn, low backache, lethargy, chest pain, and bladder problems. Plus, their anxiety and depression decreased and their quality of life increased.
Sounds like the secret to solving — or at least improving — this serious gut issue is inside your mind.
Use your mind to tackle IBS
Stress takes a major toll on your body. So, it’s no wonder tackling the root of stress — your thoughts and feelings — relieves IBS. If you’re one of the 20 percent of people who have IBS, you may want to give this mind stuff a try.
Now, it’s not always easy to find someone who specializes in treating IBS through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or hypnotherapy near you. But here’s the good news… in both studies, people successfully treated their IBS through remote therapy sessions.
In the CBT study, people received their therapy through telephone sessions or an interactive website (both worked equally well). In the hypnotherapy study, people received their therapy via Skype.
In-person sessions work too if that’s what you prefer. But it’s good to know that you can get the help you need no matter where you live or what your schedule.
If you want to find a therapist nearby to help you with your IBS, search this Psychology Today database for hypnotherapy and this one for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. A quick Google search will turn up many hypnotherapists who operate via Skype. And when it comes to CBT, you’ll find websites that offer affordable CBT programs, as well as therapists who operate via phone or Skype.
Here’s to less stress and better bowel health!
- Irritable bowel syndrome — Mayo Clinic
- CBT can provide better long-term relief for IBS symptoms — MedicalXpress