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Hypnotherapy and Probiotics May Help Ease Irritable Bowel Symptoms


In addition to making lifestyle changes such as adopting a special diet and performing stress reduction techniques, experts also suggest the use of hypnotherapy and probiotics to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Professor Roland Valori, editor of the newly launched journal Frontline Gastroenterology and gastroenterologist at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, has used hypnotherapy on over 100 patients and found that nine in ten experienced significant relief. Four out of ten had symptoms completely resolve.

Psychological treatments, such as the use of antidepressants, have often been useful in easing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Anxiety and depression worsen symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and alternating constipation and diarrhea. Hypnotherapy works by relaxing patients, and seemed to work particularly well on young women, according to Professor Valori.

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Hypnosis has been approved by the American Medical Association as a valid medical treatment since 1958. The concept behind the therapy is that by reaching the subconscious level of the mind, hypnotherapy can be used to alter the way a person consciously perceives heath problems and can promote new manners of response to them.

Hypnosis as a therapy for irritable bowel syndrome has been studied for about 15 years and appears to be a safe, effective, and inexpensive choice to alleviate symptoms.

Professor Quigley, of the University of Cork in Ireland and past president of the World Gastroenterology Organization, also suggests the use of probiotics for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

A recent study published in the March 2009 issue of Postgraduate Medicine found that Bacillus coagulans probiotic strain was effective in relieving abdominal pain and bloating. The study involved a specific supplement trademarked GanedenBC30, marketed as Digestive Advantage Irritable Bowel Syndrome and available at national retailers.

In 2008, several studies on the safety and efficacy of probiotics were presented at the American College of Gastroenterology’s 73rd Annual Scientific Meeting. Most found probiotics to be effective for both adults and children with the condition.