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Irritable bowel syndrome and the mind

Author: Dr Phil Hariram
Published: Feb 17 2007

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a common chronic condition with symptoms of abdominal pain, altered bowel habit and form, and bloating. Even though up to 20% of people globally suffer from IBS, no one knows the true cause, there is no physical abnormality, no treatment works for a large group of patients and there is no cure.

The mind connection begins with the potential causes. There is a higher incidence of childhood abuse in IBS group. Talley et al said that 50% of IBS sufferers reported abuse in childhood. Drossman said the more severe the IBS, the more severe the abuse.

All new IBS books dedicate at least one chapter on the Body Mind aspect of IBS. The suggestion is that the Brain-Gut Axis is faulty in patients with IBS.

In addition treatment with cognitive behavioural therapy, psychotherapy, biofeedback and hypnotherapy are producing surprisingly encouraging results.

Technology has isolated areas of the brain that trigger specific effects on the gut. A highly developed Scanner has shown during emotional distress, a part of the brain, the mid-cingulate cortex being stimulated. When this area is over stimulated, abdominal pain and/ or diarrhoea develops.

Studies have shown that hypnotherapy works extremely well. Some cases of refractory (nothing works) IBS, following hypnotherapy are able to lead normal lives and eat food that were previously triggers. Hypnotherapy adjusts information in the subconscious mind.

If a person with severe IBS suddenly decides that she can control her IBS symptoms, specific sequence of activity will follow. Surrounding the subconscious mind is the Critical Factor. It permits information to go pass if it is in line with stored information and refuse entry to contrary information.

The information "I can control my IBS" reaches the Critical Factor. The Critical Factor will now do a search just like Google. It will search the vast information highway of your subconscious mind. The search result: There is no info that you can control your IBS in your subconscious Mind. You have been Googled. This information will be blocked. It will reside only in the conscious mind. In other words the control will not be forthcoming.

During hypnotherapy, you are put into a deep altered sleep. During this trance state, the Critical Factor relaxes and allows the hypnotist to plant and remove information. After several sessions all the negative messages about IBS is removed and replaced by positive ones. These patients are now able too lead normal lives.

Some hypnotists plant images in case symptoms such as pain develop. If this patient developed gut pain, and she puts her hand on her tummy, she can create a picture of her gut as a smooth lazy river slowly flowing along with no kinks or white water rapids. Through the mind, these patients are programmed to control their symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

Your mind and IBS are closely interconnected. Your symptoms and specific triggers depend on information in your subconscious mind, and this information is gathered from past event and knowledge. In time this becomes a conditioned reflex and your IBS will react like before because the body remembers. This reaction will be specific to you and different from other IBS sufferers because of different stored Information.

Remember you are not alone. There are millions of Irritable Bowel Syndrome sufferers globally. Take a positive attitude and create positive expectation for your IBS. Surround yourself with people that inspire you. Talk freely about your IBS. This could be your important step towards gaining control of your IBS.


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