Hypnotherapy and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

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Topics: Abdominal pain
Introduction

This assignment will explore the condition Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Its definition, symptoms and causes will be examined, taking into account both the physical and psychological factors. The treatment of IBS will be explored, describing the conventional treatments used to manage the symptoms of IBS and in more detail the use and benefits of psychological interventions like hypnotherapy of which a variety of techniques can be used to manage symptoms and provide relief. A conclusion will form the final part of this assignment, summing up the reasons for and benefits of hypnotherapy as a treatment for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Any scripts designed to be used to relieve and manage the various symptoms of IBS will be included in the appendices.

What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common disorders of the digestive system. It is usually a disorder of the large intestine (colon), although other parts of the intestinal tract, even up to the stomach can be affected. The main functions of the colon include the absorption of water, dehydrating the contents to create a soft well-formed stool; and then movement of that stool to the point where it can evacuated from the body (Ross and Wilson 1990). This movement occurs by rhythmic contractions of the colon.
When IBS occurs, the colon does not contract normally, instead it seems to contract in a disjointed and at times violent manner. The contractions may be exaggerated and continued, sometimes lasting for prolonged periods of time. One area of the colon may contract with no regard to another and at other times there may be little or no activity at all. These abnormal contractions result in changing bowel patterns with constipation being the most common.
Symptoms vary between individuals, but the following are common symptoms of IBS:
• Abdominal pain and discomfort
• Abdominal contractions, spasms or cramps
• Diarrhoea
• Constipation
• Bloating

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