MIND–BODY THERAPIES FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)

December 1, 2010 by  
Filed under FOR IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME

Percentage of population with IBS reported in ...
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Depression is prevalent in IBS patients, as is diminished quality of life. IBS can affect sleep, sexual functioning, business and personal obligations and social life. The condition may be complicated by other conditions, such as Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and thyroid problems. Since there are no definitive diagnostic tests, IBS is a diagnosis of exclusion. Drug treatment is geared toward symptom management, not cure. If you have IBS, you might want to consider mind–body therapies, such as relaxation or hypnosis, since research supporting their use is very positive indeed.

  • Psychotherapy and Antidepressants are very effective in patients with severe IBS. A study randomly allocated 257 patients with severe IBS to receive either eight sessions of individual psychotherapy, 20mg daily of the antidepressant paroxetine, or routine care. Patients having either psychotherapy or paroxetine did not feel better psychologically, but reported feeling better physically than those getting routine medical care. During the follow-up year, the patients who had psychotherapy maintained the improvement in that they were less likely to need other medication or to see doctors. The improvement was not maintained in the paroxetine group.
  • Relaxation, Biofeedback and Hypnosis

Relaxation and biofeedback have shown success in improving symptoms of IBS and preventing the condition from recurring. One approach using relaxation therapy and medication was effective in two-thirds of patients who had not found relief using medication alone. Another approach using progressive muscle relaxation, thermal biofeedback, cognitive therapy and education had a 50 per cent success rate, and four years later those patients still showed improvement. Hypnosis has been shown to improve IBS symptoms, even in severe cases and in cases where psychotherapy had failed.

  • Other Therapies

Mind–body therapies are effective in alleviating depression and improving quality of life. A self-help program that includes meditation and visualization can improve abdominal pain and reduce or eliminate symptoms, so less medication may be needed.

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