When the bowel is working normally, it produces gentle muscular contractions, alternating with relaxation, that propel its contents toward the rectum and anus for elimination. In irritable bowel syndrome, the muscular contractions cause spasms, resulting in abdominal discomfort, trapped wind and erratic diarrhoea and/or constipation.

Other symptoms are bloating, passing mucus and a feeling of incomplete emptying. Spasms can be very strong creating pain and discomfort into many parts of the body, chest, shoulder, back and pelvic area. Symptoms can vary considerably from patient to patient. 10 - 20% of adults experience symptoms of IBS, only half visit their doctor, twice as many women suffer from  these problems.

Researchers found women have increased symptoms during their menstrual cycle, suggesting that reproductive hormones can cause interference. Nobody seems to know the cause of IBS, while stress does not cause IBS, it can create an increase in symptoms. Inherited sensitivity, several foods and beverages, and various drugs have been implicated as contributing factors. A full history needs to be taken by a doctor, which may include tests to eliminate other medical problems, and to receive a proper diagnosis. I also take a full history, sometimes finding early trauma which may cause more sensitivity to bodily sensations, and often find anxiety and stress, low self confidence and depression.

75% of patients do not respond to traditional treatment, such as multiple medications, including steroids, bulking laxatives and special diets. Not many people believe that hypnosis will work, however, when they become desperate they are willing to try anything. They often find that in a short period of time, they can now return to a more normal lifestyle.

CBT cognitive behavioural therapy and gut directed therapy, teaching self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques and using visualisation techniques produces exceedingly good results, even though there is no known cure. This therapy allows a client to go out shopping, work or take a holiday without experiencing pain, discomfort or the need to think where the nearest toilet is located.

Many gastroenterologists now advocate the use of hypnosis, and it should be the first choice of treatment with IBS symptoms. Evidence is overwhelming that IBS symptoms do respond to hypnosis. In addition to this, hypnotherapy routinely produces positive results in over 80% of IBS sufferers who use it. It has been so overwhelmingly successful for IBS symptom-alleviation that Adriane Fugh-Berman, MD, chair of the National Women's Health Network in Washington, DC, says that hypnosis should be the treatment of choice for IBS cases that have not responded to conventional therapy. If you are experiencing bowel discomfort, you should first of all visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis. Therefore a referral by a Physician is required for this therapy.