Hypnotherapy treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome discovered
Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the School of Medicine and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, has discovered a way to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) using hypnotherapy.
Up to eight million people in Britain suffer from IBS, with symptoms including diarrhoea, pain and bloating. The condition can seriously affect sufferers’ quality of life and finding effective treatment can be very difficult.
Professor Whorwell has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. Most recently, 250 patients who have suffered from IBS for over two years were given twelve one-hour sessions, during which they were given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms.
“IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body,” Professor Whorwell explained. “During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity.”
The treatment has a success rate of about 70%, and Professor Whorwell believes that hypnotherapy, although it's labour-intensive, could be an extremely effective treatment for the condition; and a less expensive alternative to new, costly drugs coming onto the market.
“We’ve found it to help all the symptoms, whereas some of the drugs available reduce only a few,” he said. “As IBS can be a life-long condition it could clearly be a very valuable option for patients; however it is not suitable for everyone and women tend to respond better than men.”