Hypnosis for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Prikkelbaar darm syndroom en hypnose

Hypnosis has been shown to be an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in a number of clinical studies. Hypnotherapy for IBS involves progressive relaxation, and then suggestions of soothing imagery and sensations focused on the individual's symptoms

There is no cure for IBS and doctors have so far been empty-handed. Until research was done in children treated with hypnosis. To the surprise of the doctors themselves, it turned out to be a great success. Dozens of hospitals are already working with hypnotherapy.

14-24% of women and 5-19% of men suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). This condition is characterized by abdominal pain and altered bowel habits. The frequency and shape of the stool changes (diarrhea, constipation or a mixture). Many people are seriously hindered in their functioning. The first step in the treatment consists of good information and lifestyle advice, followed by a trial treatment with medication. As a next step, psychological treatments can be applied. Hypnotherapy is one of those possible psychological treatments

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a form of hypnosis. Patients meet in person or by video-conference with a therapist, or listen to recordings that guide them step by step into a relaxed state.

Once patients enter the hypnotic state, they are taken through visualization exercises and hear suggestions designed to calm their digestive tract and wean them away from focusing on gut sensations.


Documentairy (in dutch)

Hypnosis in the Academic Hospital Amsterdam. In this study, 354 primary care and hospital IBS patients were treated with 6 sessions of hypnotherapy, individually or in a group of 6 patients, or with educational supportive therapy. In the hypnosis treatments, the patients learned exercises to influence the pain complaints and the functioning of the intestines. They were given these exercises on CD to use on a daily basis. 9 months after the end of therapy, 41.8% of patients in the individual treatment and 50% of the patients in the group treatment with hypnosis and 22.6% of the patients in the educational supportive therapy reported that they had adequate relief from had experienced their complaints. Hypnotherapy can therefore be considered as a third step in the treatment of IBS if lifestyle advice and medication prove ineffective. Not only for patients who have had complaints for years, but also for patients who have complaints for more than 3 months.

Article 1  Long term benefits of hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome.

Article 2  Article in healthline.com