Apparently, IBS is one of the more common conditions people suffer with in this country. Some 10% to 15% of the population at any given time will show signs of the disorder. April is #IBSAwarenessMonth to highlight the condition and help you overcome it in a natural way.
Common IBS symptoms are:
- Flatulence (high wind content) . A cousin of mine when suddenly needing the toilet would run out of the room farting shouting “The trailers are coming”. Referencing adverts before a film being shown!
- Bloating – the gut may feel uncomfortably full and swollen, so much so that on occasion someone can look several months pregnant!
- Stomach cramps – which can feel like you’re being stabbed!
- Diarrhoea and often an urgency to use the toilet.
- A very opposite symptom is constipation. Straining and a feeling that bowels haven’t properly emptied.
- The exact cause is unknown – research has found it can develop by your gut flora is out of balance, stress, and a family history of digestive problems.
But also I have found over the years my clients have a real worry about how other people see them. They possibly had it drummed into them as children that defecating was dirty. So if they were seen to be going to the toilet a lot, then they were dirty. There is often deep embarrassment. “I can’t nip off to the loo during a management meeting – what will they think?” is a thought process I often encounter. Another is “I won’t be able to make the journey because there are no stops on the way and the bus might not have a toilet. And if it did I’d be too embarrassed to use it”.
Diet can help IBS
Diet can play a part in this too, as can medications and supplements. I know what it’s like to suffer incontinence because when I was anaemic, my GP put me on iron tablets which completely upset my system. Although I had never experienced anything quite like that before, I used the tools which I teach people, to stay calm and focused and didn’t allow it to bother me.
The knowledge from my nutrition course too helped, so I make sure I am eating the correct foods, and luckily now I don’t have to take supplements. But for my clients who come to see me, by far the best therapy which has helped has been hypnotherapy.
Professor Peter Whorwell at Manchester Hospital UK started to use gut focused hypnotherapy on his in-patients back in the 1980s. Olafur S. Palsson, Psy.D., Professor of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina, USA also published a paper called “Hypnosis Treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome” back in 2002. One has to ask why it’s taking so long for the treatment to become more widely spread. My guess is that there is no market for medication in this field.
Using humour to help IBS
Although suffering from this condition in itself can make the condition worse, as people worry about doing anything. It’s the worry then, which drives it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. So what can we do to help it? Not allowing oneself to become embarrassed for one. Using humour to defuse the tension. Laugh at how stupid that situation is. Make light of the fact you’re nipping to the loo. How do we do that? Well talking therapy for one (CBT) can help with that. Solution-focused therapy and hypnotherapy are another. Finding the right therapist who can empathise and help you see the problem from another perspective is a third way.
Also see: nutrition