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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms,
Causes, and Treatment

Sometimes itís called the angry gut. Thatís because if you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), your insides often stir up a fuss. Your digestive tract roils, rumbles and pushes out wind. You may suffer from frequent diarrhea, diarrhea alternating with constipation or just constipation. Usually, you have abdominal pain. And itís also likely that youíll experience flatulence and bloating.

IBS tends to be a chronic and long-lasting problem. According to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Women no one knows what causes it, though diet and stress are known to aggravate symptoms. The following changes in your diet and daily habit may help turn your angry gut into a laid-back bowel, this book says:

  • Use laxatives sparingly, or you might develop a lazy colon that no longer works on its own;
  • Eat a lot of fiber, which is the key to stabilizing IBS;
  • If youíre not used to a lot of fiber — which might make you feel bloated and gassy — try a natural fiber supplement;
  • Pectin, another source of high fiber, is found in fruits such as papayas, oranges and grapefruit;
  • Try to drink six to eight glasses of water a day;
  • Since caffeine is a major bowel stimulant, de-caffeinate your life;
  • Keep a diet diary to track your symptoms;
  • Steer clear of wheat and dairy products;
  • Since dining out is often a culprit regardless of what you eat, eat at home;
  • Exercise at least three times a week;
  • Stress aggravates the symptoms of IBS. To calm down your colon, try to find a relaxation method that works for you.

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USING HYPNOTHERAPY TO BEAT IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Article by: Sophie Lee

Hypnotherapy is one of the best known and most widely used treatments for IBS, and can offer sufferers a drug-free solution to their symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, stomach pain and bloating.

There are now many hundreds of hypnotherapists who offer what is called ďgut-directed hypnotherapyĒ for IBS, which takes the general techniques of hypnotherapy and applies them directly to the abdominal pain and digestive symptoms which IBS sufferers struggle with. This type of hypnotherapy has been clinically tested and found to be very helpful to many IBS patients.

One of the first studies of hypnotherapy for IBS was conducted by Dr Peter Whorwell, a leading expert on IBS and hypnotherapy in the UK. A trial he conducted in the 1980s found that a group of IBS sufferers who had failed to respond to other treatments showed dramatic improvements when treated with gut-directed hypnotherapy. Since then, other therapists have shown similar results.

What hypnotherapy involves

Hypnotherapy in a medical setting bears no relation to the kind of stage hypnosis where volunteers are made to do ridiculous things in the name of entertainment. In fact, patients remain entirely in control of their own actions, and are simply coaxed into a kind of deep relaxation state.

While the patient is in this state the therapist will talk to you and make positive suggestions — one typical method for IBS is to ask you to place your hand over your abdomen and imagine that a healing warmth is flowing from your hand to your stomach.

Some hypnotherapists will record each session for you so that you can listen to them again between your appointments, and therefore increase the effectiveness of the therapy.

Self-hypnosis

If you donít have the time or the resources to visit a qualified hypnotherapist, you might find some relief in one of the self-hypnosis CDs available, which can be listened to in the comfort of your own home.

While you will not get an individual treatment program from a ready-made CD, you will be able to benefit from the general hypnosis approach, and you can choose to listen to the CDs whenever you have the time.

The IBS Audio Program, developed by the UK hypnotherapist Michael Mahoney, is the most widely used program for IBS sufferers, and is available on audio CD and cassette. The program is designed to be used over 100 days, and includes four CDs and a program booklet. The makers claim that around 80% of listeners experience a significant reduction of pain and bowel dysfunction.

The program consists of three therapeutic session CDs, with an introduction and five different hypnotherapy sessions. It also includes a bonus fourth CD (the IBS Companion), which explains IBS to non-sufferers.

About The Author
Sophie Lee has suffered from IBS for more than 15 years. She runs IBS Tales http://www.ibstales.com where you can read hundreds of personal stories from IBS sufferers and self-help tips.

OTHER RESOURCES:

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Association
A nonprofit organization dedicated to helping everyone who suffers from IBS through patient support groups, treatment, accurate information and education.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self-Help and Support Group
A patient advocate in support of those who suffer from IBS, those who are looking for support for someone who has IBS, and medical professionals who want to learn more about IBS.

What I Need to Know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Defines irritable bowel syndrome, explains its causes and symptoms, and outlines available treatment options.

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