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Hypnotherapy for IBS

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional bowel disorder that involves abdominal pain and discomfort along with abnormal bowel habits of constipation, diarrhea, or an alternation between the two. Symptoms outside the digestive tract are also common in IBS. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of people are affected by IBS, though only a small proportion of them see a gastroenterologist for the condition. That said, half of all gastroenterologist outpatient visits are for IBS, and it is also one of the most common gastrointestinal conditions diagnosed by general practitioners. IBS is more common among women, with a female/male ratio of about 2:1.

IBS treatment is based on addressing individual symptoms, but because of the range of symptoms involved in IBS, pharmacological treatment is not always effective. Dietary changes and supplements can be very helpful for people with IBS. Certain psychological treatments have also been found to benefit IBS patients, including cognitive behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy, stress management, and gut-directed hypnotherapy.

In a recent study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, gut-directed hypnotherapy was evaluated by utilizing hypnotherapy in the hospital and psychology private practice settings as opposed to specialized hypnotherapy centers in order to more closely reflect a widely available treatment option. The study found that gut-directed hypnotherapy, which is based on muscular and mental relaxation, and general hypnotic suggestions used to either focus on symptoms or distract from them, resulted in a significant reduction in IBS symptoms, especially sensory symptoms like pain and bloating.

When comparing the response rate to hypnotherapy against the response rate of other new IBS drugs on the market, the researchers stated, “hypnotherapy seems to be at least as effective and without any known side effects.”

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Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency in lactase, the enzyme required to digest milk sugar. Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramping when dairy foods are consumed. People who suspect they are lactose intolerant can perform a self-test by eliminating dairy products from their diet for 10 days. If the symptoms disappear and again reappear with the reintroduction of dairy products in the diet, lactose intolerance is probably the explanation for the symptoms.

Take the Lactose Intolerance Self-Test

Print this page and answer the questions below.

1. Do you experience cramping and diarrhea 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating dairy products?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

2. Do you have uncomfortable gas and bloating after eating baked goods or dairy products?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

3. Do you experience nausea after eating?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

4. Do you suffer from headaches?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

5. Do you have persistent acne?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

6. Are you of Asian, African, Native American, Mexican or Mediterranean ancestry?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

7. Have you ever had inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis, Crohn’s disease or IBS?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

8. Do you have celiac disease (gluten intolerance)?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

9. Do sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol or maltitol give you gas, bloating, cramping or diarrhea?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

10. Have you ever had parasites or a candida overgrowth?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

TOTAL SCORE ______

(A score of 3 or higher indicates you may be Lactose Intolerant, but as always, ask your primary care physician.)

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‡This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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