Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Gut Issues


What is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

IBS is one of the functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders (FGIDs).

What is a functional GI disorder?

Historically, traditional medicine has divided gastrointestinal problems into 2 main categories:

1. Organic diseases
2. Functional disorders

Organic GI diseases are those for which a specific diagnosis can be proven by an abnormal
physical examination, lab test, or biopsy result. Examples of these include ulcerative colitis,
Crohn’s disease, and other inflammatory bowel diseases.

In functional GI disorders, the exam and all lab results are basically normal, but the symptoms
are still quite real. These symptoms can include: nausea, vomiting, pain, constipation, and/or
diarrhea. Examples of functional GI disorders include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Functional Abdominal Pain (FAP)
    • Similar to visceral hypersensitivity
  • Abdominal Migraine,
  • Functional Dyspepsia, and
  • Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome (CVS).

And, of course, there is a strong mind-body connection. When we are upset emotionally, it
affects us physically, and vice versa. Medical research has demonstrated that virtually every
patient with a functional GI disorder also has anxiety which contributes to the problem.

As it happens, there is no medication that can treat functional GI disorders. And, the best
treatments for them have been proven to be medical hypnosis and cognitive behavioral
therapy (CBT).

Now, when we use the term “hypnosis,” I would imagine you might be thinking about people
with the swinging watch and movies and cartoons that make it look like someone is controlling
someone else’s mind. And, there is no such thing as mind control! I can’t control your mind
any more than you could control mine!

With medical hypnosis, also known as hypnotherapy, guided imagery, or visualization, patients
choose a specific therapeutic goal, such as, “I want to have better control over that nausea, or
vomiting, or diarrhea.” Then, we help them to create an empowering experience, in their minds, that allows them to realize that they have the ability to do things that they previously were not aware that they could do.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is an approach that helps patients to identify their
negative thoughts and emotions, and talk back to those thoughts with positive thoughts. And
when we change the way we think, we change the way we feel. CBT has been shown to be the
best treatment for anxiety and depression.

“Controlling Your Gut Feelings” is a home video program that I have developed for patients
with FGIDs. It incorporates medical hypnosis techniques, cognitive behavioral therapy
strategies, and powerful motivational tools that have been proven, by evidence-based medical
research, to help patients with these problems.