IBS AND YOUR BRAIN
THE MIND/GUT CONNECTION
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Do you have these IBS symptoms?
IBS symptoms can vary from person to person. Some IBS symptoms include:
- Diarrhea and/or constipation (chronic or alternating)
- Abdominal pain or spasm
- Excess mucus in the colon or stool
- Bowel urgency or incontinence
- Difficulty swallowing
- A “lump in the throat”
- Chest pain
- Urinary frequency
Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms are real, but unfortunately, medications to treat IBS are not very effective. The typical scenario is that a well-meaning doctor gives some vague advice on controlling stress and adding fiber to the diet. The problem is that avoiding stress in life is like trying to escape gravity – it is there all the time.
Can Inner Freedom Therapy (IFT) help by using hypnotherapy for IBS?
IFT uses hypnotherapy and is combined with life coaching in a unique program. The client who works with Dr. Elaine Goldhammer experiences a freeing of the GI tract from their over-working, over-thinking conscious and subconscious mind. Once free, your stomach and bowels work perfectly, just as they were designed to work. No more planning your life around your bathrooms.
Imagine your life without diarrhea, constipation, pain, and excess gas. Imagine feeling free of the fear of embarrassment, free of excessive planning, free of the worry of finding bathrooms, free of worrying where to sit at a meeting or in a theater. Now imagine a life that has your full participation, a life you want.
Life Coaching for IBS and how can it help.
Life coaching is an essential part of IBS treatment therapy. While the hypnotherapy clears up the past and what the brain made it mean, the life coaching and mindfulness helps every client face your job, your relationships, your social life in a whole new way. By adjusting our conscious brain’s way of thinking and approaching life’s “problems” you can completely change the trajectory of your life. After living for years of avoiding IBS triggers, it takes some new thinking and practice to work on creating the life and mindset you want.
If you suffer from IBS and live in West Chester, Pennsylvania, contact Elaine for a FREE consultation!
IBS and Your Brain explained!
For fellow science geeks to understand why this works on a biological/anatomical level:
If you have been diagnosed with Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) then you are not alone. Nearly 30% of all referrals to a gastroenterologist have this disorder and it is estimated that 10 to 25% of the population has IBS to some degree. Many people suffer in silence or only complain to their family or friends. There are also the silent sufferers that never seek medical attention, thus the overall incidence is not known. Most people who have IBS experience abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea or constipation, IBS fatigue, or symptoms tend to flip back and forth from one to the next. The exact cause of IBS is not known despite many medical studies that have tried to unravel its source. It is not a “life-threatening” diagnosis but it is certainly a life-altering diagnosis. Men and women who suffer from this disorder change their lives around to fit their ailment. Work, social events, vacations, family time are often missed or not fully embraced due to bothersome Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms, and many end up planning their lives around what their abdomen will come up with next.
Clinicians describe two parts to IBS. One is related to the dysfunctional motility of the bowel and the second is related to the sensitivity of the bowel.
Normal bowels contract and move food along in an organized fashion. There is actually a rhythm to our bowels and they contract in a very organized and timely fashion. We start digesting from the time we even see food and salivate, chew, swallow and then the food has a nice digestive journey until it reaches our colon and then…out it goes. In IBS, the rhythm is disorganized, and instead of a wave-like movement of our GI tract squeezing, it becomes a disorganized mess. This mess leads to constipation and diarrhea as the digested food is jumping around, and either moving too fast or too slowly. Having stagnant or overactive intestines can cause gas to build up and lead to pain.
The second part of IBS is that patients have very sensitive GI tracts. (See, you always know you were extra sensitive!) This is where it gets even more interesting. Our bowel walls actually have nerve receptors. There are 2 types of nerve receptors. One set is in between the muscular walls of the bowel and helps with the squeezing and relaxing motion that I described above. These sensors know when the gut is full and when it is empty. The other set of receptors is inside the tube of your bowel and these receptors sense how much blood flow is needed to the area, control all the digestive juices needed, and secrete a huge range of neurotransmitters. It is like a whole second brain in your gut! So when you feel your abdomen has a “mind of its own”, well, it kind of does. But the good news is this second “gut-brain” has to report back to the mothership. The signals travel from the gut to the spinal cord, to the “autonomic nervous system” which sits right in your unconscious brain. The brain is in constant communication with your body, meaning the flow of information goes back and forth from the brain to the gut and from gut to brain. It is all supposed to run smoothly without conscious thought. Our brain automatically runs breathing, heart rate, digestion, and blood pressure. If we had to decide to take every breath and every heartbeat it would be pretty time consuming for us and not leave much brain energy or concentration for well, anything else. The final fascinating fact I will share is that our body’s limbic system, the system that holds emotions and memories, is sitting right on top of the area in the brain that holds the “automatic” autonomic system of the nervous system. We all know that in times of stress our heart rate goes up, blood pressure can go up, and of course, belly pain can occur. Our autonomic system is there to keep us alive and if you think about it, our memories help keep us alive too. Thus, if your brain remembers situations that were dangerous in your past it will send out warning signs (like increased heart rate) if you encounter that dangerous system again. The emotion and memory signal your autonomic system to keep you safe. Well, let’s flip this on its head for a second – if our thoughts and feelings can change the way our bodies react and if we can control our thoughts and feelings, well BINGO… We can then control our GI systems. So this is where “mindfulness” comes in. There are a growing number of studies showing that hypnosis or meditation for IBS can help regulate heart rate in a healthy manner, meditation can alter bowel symptoms, blood pressure, and breathing. RTT is a fast track method into the mind and helps return your brain and body into a sense of peace and health. This form of therapy is painless, safe, drug-free, needle-free, and a key to returning to the life you chose. Give yourself back the power.