Today marks the end of IBS awareness month and in reality I have not seen anything online raising the awareness of IBS.
I help clients internationally, in Guernsey in my clinic, as well as across the world via Skype, to manage their IBS and regain 'control' of their life. IBS can be a debilitating condition that results in people becoming fearful of what may happen should their guts flare up whilst out and about.
IBS impacts around 10-20% of the public, with a higher proportion of females being affected - or at least reporting being affected. And age of onset is likely to be prior to the age of 50 - it is very unusual that someone experiences their first symptoms of IBS post-50.
IBS Symptoms can result in a massive life-disruption, with IBS increasing the likelihood of absenteeism from work, missing out on social occasions, and concentration levels (source).
As IBS impacts the lifestyle of the indivudual significantly it is not uncommon for someone with IBS to experience depression and anxiety.
It is very important to ensure you do have a proper diagnosis prior to seeking support for IBS as whilst there is no specific test for IBS, the symptoms can be mistaken for conditions that need medical intervention. When clients present to me for IBS I always ensure they have had other conditions ruled out by their GP and preferably a gastric surgeon.
What I find, with many of my clients, is that the IBS symptoms are intertwined with a bundle of other emotions, fears, concerns. These physiologically exacerbate the IBS symptoms - it becomes a viscous cycle. Many clients have reported that when they do take a leap of faith and have a holiday, their symptoms disappear! This demonstrates the power of the mind-gut connection. When the mind is calm, the body calms too.
The work I do with people with IBS is evolving. Historically I have used the accepted protocols - the Manchester Protocol and the North Carolina Protocol for IBS. Both of these have fantastic efficacy rates, and resulted in Hypnosis being deemed an effective treatment for treatment-resistant IBS by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
My evolving approach takes some of the best-practice from these methods, which are now 15-20 years old, and brings them up to date. De-scripting the entire process and working with what the individual brings into the session on the day. This approach is getting positive feedback already and my aim is to reduce treatment time, making it more affordable and more rapid. This approach is still in development, yet is looking at being an extremely effective option for people wanting to regain control of their life by regaining control of their bowels.
I am currently offering a 4-session IBS programme to help clients regain control of their gut, to help ditch the anxieties, and live an easier life. These methods are based on my experience of working with clients internationally, as well as the latest evidence-base. If you are interested in increasing your comfort and reducing pain from IBS then make your appointment today.
I'm a doctor of psychology, born in Guernsey, educated at a tertiary level in Bristol, Bath, and London. Having worked and trained with some of the leading Health Psychologists in the UK, and having a passion about how Health Psychology can truly benefit many people, I now want to spread the word, as well as offer consultations to people wanting to make changes in their lives.