Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional bowel disorder, which causes abdominal pain, and in some cases, fever, diarrhoea, bloating, constipation and nausea. It is a common ailment, which is thought to affect one in three people at some point in their lives.
The causes of irritable bowel syndrome are unknown, particularly as IBS sufferers show no physical abnormalities in the bowel. Because of this, many specialists believe that stress is a major factor in causing this painful bowel disorder.
Currently, a hypnotherapist at the Manchester hospital is treating more than 60 irritable bowel syndrome sufferers every week. Patients are coming from locations throughout the country to experience this cutting-edge course of 12 hypnotherapy treatments, which means the hospital now has an 18-month waiting list.
Pamela Cruickshanks, who is one of Wythenshawe Hospital’s three clinical hypnotherapists, explains how the treatment works. She said: “We provide patients with 12 sessions of ‘gut-directed hypnotherapy’, which teach patients to take control over their bowel. Due to the success of this treatment, patients are coming from all over the country to access our services, and hypnosis is now considered to be the treatment of choice for moderate to severe IBS.”
One irritable bowel syndrome sufferer from Manchester, Claire Brunton, suffered from painful cramps and other symptoms of the bowel disorder so badly that she stopped wanting to eat, which left her on the verge of anorexia. She also started to suffer from terrifying panic attacks because she was worrying so much about getting ill.
However, as a result of Wythenshawe hospital’s revolutionary hypnotherapy programme, she has learnt some great techniques to stop her panic attacks, control her symptoms and help to cope with the pain. While her illness had once held her back in life, the hypnotherapy treatments have helped her to cope with the stress of her final university exams, as well as giving her enough confidence to enter the world of work and begin a new job as a recruitment consultant.
Claire was quick to praise Wythenshawe Hospital’s hypnotherapy treatment for IBS, she said: “Hypnotherapy is a very strange thing to try to describe, your therapist helps you to relax slowly but you are awake and conscious throughout – it feels like the last few moments before you go to sleep when you still know what is happening around you.”
Before embarking on this treatment, Claire had tried a number of other IBS therapies to no avail. She explained: “IBS was taking over my life. I had started to worry I would not be able to hold down a job and I didn’t want to eat because I felt like everything I ate made me sick, so I’d tried all kinds of herbal remedies and acupuncture before the hypnotherapy.”
As well as having hypnotherapy, Claire was also given a number of blood tests at the hospital that showed she was allergic to dairy and wheat products. She now avoids these foods and finds that her symptoms have eased a great deal.
Manchester Evening News