Up to fifty percent of adults who suffer from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) report having experienced significant trauma during their childhoods. Indeed, the researchers Saito-Loftus theorizes that the experience of trauma may affect the brain and the stomach in an adverse way that makes future susceptibility to IBS more likely.
We have seen in previous articles posted on this site that those who experience significant childhood trauma are more likely than those who have not to go on to experience higher than average trauma (eg severe relationship problems, dysfunctional behaviours leading to crisis etc) and levels of stress and anxiety in their adult lives.
This is highly relevant as stress and anxiety are known to exacerbate symptoms of IBS. Furthermore, a study conducted at the Mayo Clinic found that trauma suffered in adulthood also increases the likelihood of the development of IBS or the worsening of existing symptoms.
Above: This diagram shows how stress can affect the body, including the development of IBS.
Implications for treatment:
It follows from this that therapy to help IBS sufferers to resolve issues relating to any traumas they may have experienced may, in many cases, be of benefit.
The role of hypnotherapy:
Clinical studies have demonstrated that hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for IBS. Usually, it involves the use of progressive relaxation techniques, imagery and visualisation. Such uses of hypnotherapy have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of IBS, including stomach pain, diarrhoea, bloating and constipation, as well as the fatigue which is often associated with IBS. Additionally, hypnotherapy can help to treat anxiety and stress.
Help With IBS Symptoms (instantly downloadable hypnosis audio): Click here.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).