Hypnosis For IBS: How Effective Is it

Hypnosis For IBS: How Effective Is it

Having an upset vacation is better than having an upset stomach. People who are suffering from IBS will surely agree to this. IBS isn’t an easy medical condition. Those who are afflicted with it have to watch their mood, their diet, and their day to day engagements.

IBS is very discomforting. For starters, having this condition will make you prone to abdominal cramps and diarrhea. You’ll also have to frequently visit the comfort room. In embarrassing cases, you might fart accidentally while in the crowd.

For these reasons, doctors are constantly finding ways to manage IBS. In this article, I’ll present you with a unique method of treating it without medication or lifestyle change – hypnosis.

A Quick Overview of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a disorder in the digestive system which causes several stomach related problems. This includes excessive farting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, loose stools, and bloating. It might also damage the rectum or the anus and cause blood to accompany defecation.

Experts estimate that 15% of the total world population has IBS. This means that it is a common disorder. But despite this, researchers are still struggling to explain the exact cause of IBS. Debates continue, the most commonly discussed cause is the failed communication of the brain and the digestive system.

But what’s certain are the triggers for IBS.

IBS usually happens if one experiences the following:

  • depression
  • stress
  • diet
  • lifestyle
  • anxiety

The development of IBS is prevalent among middle-aged adults and late adults. Women are more susceptible than men. This might be due to their weaker nerve cells that control bowel movement. Other probable reasons are hormone and physique.

Though the development of IBS correlates with family history, people aren’t born with this condition. IBS usually develops after a bacterial overgrowth in the stomach or severe viral infection. Others also report having IBS as a result of psychiatric disorders like anxiety disorders and depressive disorders.

It’s a popular belief that IBS will eventually go away after reaching a specific age. However, this isn’t the case. Understand that IBS is a chronic condition. This means that it will affect you for life without treatment. There is no known cure at present. However, there are clinical methods for managing the symptoms.

The aid of gastroenterologists is crucial for the diagnosis of IBS. In developing countries where gastroenterologists aren’t common, most people suffer from IBS without being aware of it. They only see their upset stomach as a severe form of diarrhea or a weak stomach. A common treatment that they resort to is herbal medicines consisting of plant leaves and roots.

But in developed countries where gastroenterologists are numerous, diagnosing IBS and managing it is easy. Diagnosis includes an evaluation of medical history and physical checkups. A more thorough diagnosis requires endoscopy, colonoscopy, CT-scan, and laboratory tests. In connection, immediate management for symptoms is done through medicines.

I Don’t Like Medicines, Is There Another Treatment?

Many have tried hypnosis for IBS. With hypnosis, the subject who has IBS is induced with verbal cues in a trance to achieve the relaxation of the gastrointestinal tract. It also helps to relieve the triggers. The proceeding part of this article provides details about how hypnosis helped Elena’s IBS.

Case Study of Hypnosis For IBS

Important Note: This a quick run-through of a case study titled “

Cognitive-Behavioral Hypnotherapy in A Case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome

“. It’s only proper to cite the original work at ResearchGate and other online research archives and not this website.

Background of the Subject

Elena is a 34-year-old married woman with two kids and works in a supermarket 6 kilometers away from her. The distance of the supermarket from her home required her to ride a bus. Elena had been experiencing symptoms of IBS but didn’t think about getting a diagnosis.

However, one incident encouraged her to get clinical help. This was when she defecated while riding the bus in the public. This shamed Elena extremely. Since that time, she feared and avoided riding when going to work. IBS symptoms also became more prevalent. IBS also made Elena edgy, anxious, and sleepless.


Elena’s treatment used a CBT approach paired with hypnosis. This went on for 5 sessions which lasted for 1 month and 1 week. The objective of the treatment was to; eliminate Elena’s recollection of the incident which fueled the emergence of IBS symptoms and her social anxiety, increase her self-esteem, dysfunctional sleeping behavior, and diminish her irritability.

For the first session, the therapist encouraged Elena to recognize the issues that she’s facing. In the second session, Elena had to rank the issues that she’s facing. The therapist also hypnotized her to induce the mindset that she can succeed in overcoming such issues.

For the third session, the therapist aimed to further address her phobia of riding the bus. Elena had to visualize herself riding the bus without ever thinking about defecating while on the trip. In the fourth session, the therapist aimed at Elena’s self-esteem and relaxation while riding the bus. As homework, the therapist required Elena to hypnotize herself.

Result of the Treatment

The fifth session was an evaluation of Elena’s condition after the treatment. Elena reported that she managed to ride the bus without distress. She also enjoyed better sleep. Her self-esteem is also higher than before the sessions were carried out.

Is Hypnosis for IBS Effective?

Hypnotherapy is a known treatment of IBS. However, most pairs it with CBT. For treating IBS, hypnosis is utilized to overcome its negative implications on the social life and mental health of the subject. Furthermore, it’s also useful for mitigating the triggers of IBS like anxiety and irritability. This greatly applies to the case of Elena.

Another notable feature of Elena’s case is the self-hypnosis. Self-potential can be very useful for those suffering from IBS for addressing the sudden emergence of symptoms. Moreover, it might also reinforce the effects of hypnotherapy sessions from psychiatric clinics.

Frequently Asked Questions of Hypnotherapy and IBS

What Kind of Environment Do I Need For Self Hypnosis?

It should be very quiet before attempting to hypnotize yourself. Even a faint whirring sound of a fan is undesirable. If you’re living in a noisy community, you can cover the windows with cardboard to reduce the noise. You can also attempt self-hypnosis during specific time periods when everything is still.

Are There Self Hypnosis Apps?

You may download self-hypnosis apps in Google Playstore or the App Store. However, most demand you to subscribe for the full features. Use a hypnosis mp3 instead as they’re cheaper and downloadable for free online. Go to HypnosisDownloads, lots of content are awaits there.

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