Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL MAY 12 Contents on the list of conversation. Daily cramping,
constipation, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence,
pain and fatigue are all common symptoms
of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome suggests just
Clinical Hypnotherapist Michelle White DCht MIACT lived with the debilitating symptoms of
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for 15 years before discovering the healing properties of gut
directed hypnotherapy. She shares her journey to health with this holistic approach.
20 © NOVA MAY 2012
How many people do you know
suffer from Irritable Bowel
Syndrome? I can take a guess
not many people have told
you because the symptoms are not high
that, an irritable bowel. So, what is irritating
it? When IBS is medically diagnosed, ruling
out any underlying disease or condition,
there are only two options. It's either the
food and chemical intake or a complex
interaction called the brain-gut axis -- the
relationship and signaling between the
brain and the gut. Anything that has an
impact on the brain can also affect the
gut and that includes stress, anxiety,
depression and negative thinking. Think
about that time in your life you had to
prepare a speech, or undertake an exam
or attend an important job interview. Do
you feel those nerves and butterflies in
your stomach just at the memory of it?
It's a common example of how strongly
linked the brain and gut are, and with IBS
it's often built on the same signalling but is
far more complex.
Understanding Irritable Bowel
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional
bowel disorder and is diagnosed by
exclusion of organic diseases such as
inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.
Food allergies, gluten intolerance and
coeliac disease can all mimic the symp-
toms of IBS and must first be ruled out by
your medical practitioner.
IBS is the most common gastrointestinal
disorder, affecting about 20% of the world's
population and makes up approximately
50% of visits to gastroenterologists. IBS is
viewed as a dysregulation between the gut
and the central nervous system, leading
to alterations in sensation, sensitivity,
bowel movement and immune function.
IBS patients tend to have hypersensitive
responses to movement and distention
of the bowel, and tolerance to other
activity in the bowel, including the digestion
of food, is decreased.
Brain-gut interactions are crucial
in regulating digestive processes such
as appetite and food intake, and in the
overall physical and emotional state of
the gastrointestinal tract. Similarly, about
90% of our serotonin lives in our gut.
Serotonin is an extremely important neuro-
transmitter involved in brain function and
is the 'feel good' chemical that helps
regulate mood, appetite, sleep and pain
sensitivity. Serotonin plays an important
role in bowel movement and sensation, so
getting the signals right between the brain
and gut is essential for IBS patients.
Evidence shows that the negative
emotions created by stressors such as
stress, fear, anxiety and depression activate
stress hormones from the pituitary and
adrenal glands in an effort to rebalance
the body to its normal state. When these
hormones are produced too often, they
can be harmful and result in symptoms of
IBS.As the gut is not functioning in a
healthy capacity, there is a higher inci-
dence of food intolerance in people with
IBS. This is commonly due to hyper-
sensitivity of the gut or abnormal intestinal
micro flora. Probiotics can be beneficial
for people with IBS, although these are
best taken under the recommendation
of a health care professional. An over-
production of good bacteria can also be
harmful and result in inflammation of the
gut lining and improper absorption of
food particles. When the gastrointestinal
tract is unbalanced and experiencing
altered bowel movements and higher
sensitivity, it can react unnecessarily to
stimulus such as food, thereby creating
If all those physical symptoms are
keeping IBS patients on their toes and
in close proximity to bathrooms, how
on earth are they managing everything
else? IBS takes a toll on the physical,
emotional, social and financial aspects of
life of people coping with the condition.
There can be regular time off work to deal
with symptoms or medical appointments
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