If modifying your diet is not something you’re ready to do, you may wish to consider Hypnotherapy as an intervention.
Many people struggle with digestive symptoms but find it difficult to mention them to a doctor. One or two close calls of barely making it to the bathroom and people begin to rearrange their lives to avoid crises. It’s common to try many remedies on your own - probiotics, avoiding spicy foods, or going gluten-free - and, unfortunately, the average period of time for diagnosis of IBS is 6 years.
One of the more common treatments is the low-FODMAPs diet, which rules out many vegetables and fruits as well as gluten. FODMAPS stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols, all molecules in food. It can be a helpful way to eliminate certain triggers in your diet so as to go back to baseline comfort, while then working with a certified dietician to enter the re-introduction phase.
However, in a 2016 study (attached below) gut-directed hypnotherapy matched the results of the low-FODMAPS diet. This is welcome news for IBS patients, since it clears a potentially easier path to eventually enjoy a broader, healthier diet.
In the study, irritable bowel syndrome patients were randomised to receive hypnotherapy, diet or a combination. Over the course of 6 weeks they were monitored for improvement in symptoms and as a secondary study, were monitored or the durability of such improvements over 6 months.
The trial showed that the effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy are similar to those of the low FODMAP diet for relief of gastrointestinal symptoms and that hypnotherapy has superior efficacy to the diet on psychological indices. No additive effects were observed.
2016 study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27397586/
Six months after completion of a trial on children suffering with gastrointestinal issues, more than 60 percent of children who went through this program had maintained their progress, cutting symptoms by at least half. The team on the trial state that, “most children with both abdominal pain and headaches reported improvements in both. Additionally, many parents reported improvements in sleep and focus at school”.
Separately, a Dutch team concluded in a separate study that, after gut-directed hypnotherapy, two-thirds of a small group of children with chronic IBS or stomach pain were at least 80 percent better almost five years later.
Study showing efficacy of hypnotherapy in children with IBS: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00029157.2015.1012705?journalCode=ujhy20
Study demonstrating 80% improvement almost 5 years on: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22310221/