Irritable Bowel Syndrome is very commonly experienced by those with FM – due to their super sensitivity to pain. Here you will hear from experts on IBS as well as learn about self help method to take back lost parts of your life.
OnAir Post: Fibromyalgia & IBS
What is IBS?
IBS is a problem with the gut not working well. That’s why it’s called a functional disorder. There’s no tissue damage. So, having tests aren’t used to diagnose it. It’s like having a software (rather than a hardware) problem on a computer.
Symptoms can include: chronic pain, gas, and bloating, diarrhea or constipation, … or both. People have a super sensitive stomach. It causes a great deal of stress … as well as being caused by stress (among other things).
For more details, I recommend listening to one of the best medical experts who also has a PhD in the new field of ‘Gut-Brain’ Gastroenterology. Dr. Geoff Hebbard answers questions in this Podcast: IBS and Functional Digestive Disorders related to: differences between several GI diseases, belching, bloating, farting, gurgling, if constipation can be toxic, and much more.
How can CBT help?
Besides the physical distress of IBS, there’s the day-to-day stress of an unpredictable flare-up, the fear of not being close enough to a bathroom, or the embarrassment of an urgent exit. People can suffer an extraordinary loss in their quality of life, due to limiting or altogether avoiding enjoyable food, activities, and relationships.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for IBS is scientifically proven to help you take back the parts of your life that are lost. It’s a specific type of stress management, including 3 parts:
- Education about IBS and how stress relates to the intestinal tract
- Skill development for managing thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns that can improve ‘function’
- Gradual re-entry back into more desirable patterns – to take back your life.
CBT using self-help works
Fortunately, for those who prefer self-help to going to a therapist, there’s an unusual book that’s actually been tested and proven to help people with IBS. I recommend Dr. Hunt’s book, Reclaim Your Life From IBS. I believe this user says it best … as did 26 other people!
June 13, 2016
This book clearly explains how mental condition is related to the gut problems. I was always aware of this connection but the idea was not this clear to me. Living in a professional world full of deadlines and job duties, puts lots of pressure on human body and intestinal problems such as IBS are just one way the body is alarming about the mental issues. This book focuses on this aspect and tries to provide simple but strong techniques to block the route from outside stress to the body and intestine.
The book is very easy to read, no technicality,,,so my recommendation as a person with IBS symptoms is give it a read,,I am sure you will find it very useful!
What does CBT look like?
For those who prefer trying CBT with a therapist, Dr. Hunt has also demonstrated (with a person playing someone with IBS) a segment of a typical therapy session. This clip gives you an excellent idea of what to expect. Pay attention to how frankly they collaborate and discuss the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as what the next step will be for the patient to try before her next visit.
Find a CBT therapist
Not all CBT therapists are trained to work with people with IBS. Be sure to ask therapists if this is one of their specialties. I recommend 3 different sources to search:
- The CBT Hub Directory (Glance at the Map to see if there are any in your area)
- The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Directory
- The Academy of Cognitive Therapy Directory
Participate in a study?
If you are an IBS patient, Dr. Hunt at the University of Pennsylvania is currently enrolling people in her study. It’s goal: Test which works better … Reclaim Your Life From IBS versus The Complete Low FODMAP Diet. Contact the study coordinator at email@example.com for more information.
Since the 1980’s, Dr. Peter Whorwell BSc MB BS MD PhD FRCP, Professor of Medicine & Gastroenterology at the University of Manchester has become known for studies showing that hypnotherapy for IBS is another highly effective psychological treatment. More recently, his study published in 2018 showed that group hypnotherapy was no less effective than individual hypnotherapy – a step in reducing the cost!
Listen to Dr. Jim Kantidakis’ Podcast with Dr. Whorwell about hypnotherapy.
Find certified hypnosis professionals near you using the The Society of Psychological Hypnosis website. They list the professional organizations which will have directories.