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IBS AND THE MIND

I see many people who suffer from IBS. Most of them come to me because they feel very uncomfortable, have tried everything else and feel extremely stressed. Stress and IBS go hand-in-hand and need to be treated simultaneously. In addition, it is interesting to know that the gut is directly related to the brain. Did you know that 80% of the serotonin production (your happy hormone) happens in the gut?

We need to stop looking at the brain and the gut as separate entities as there is a complex connection between the two. Each are able to influence the other through the autonomic nervous system – this is responsible for the motor and sensation responses of our internal organs. Dysfunction in this connection may be a contributing factor in IBS.

WHAT IS IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a symptom diagnosis characterised by abdominal pain/discomfort, bloating and an abnormal bowel pattern. IBS is a condition which affects both your brain and your body, but the cause is unknown. IBS is considered to be psychosomatic, with improvement in a patient’s symptoms when treated in short-term psychotherapy.

IBS AND EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT

People with IBS often suffer from anxiety and depression. Excessively sensitive nerves in the gut can trigger changes in the brain and visa-versa. Thoughts, feeling and heightened anxiety or arousal can stimulate exaggerated gut responses.

There are different types of stressors which can increase motility and sensation of the colon, more so in IBS patients. These stressors may be physical (pain or illness) or psychological (money, work or relationship problems) or may even be both. These stressful events can cause a change in bowel habits together with abdominal pain. This means that the starting point might have been a psychological problem but the symptoms can manifest into a physiological problem. Symptoms are worse for people with IBS whose stress is intensified with the worry of having uncontrollable bowel movements whilst travelling or during a meeting.

In patients with IBS there is a heightened sensitivity of the bowel to internal and external causes of stress. Identifying and addressing the cause is vital to decreasing the symptoms and improving one’s quality of life.

FOOD AVERSION

Why do we become averse to certain foods? Often it’s not a conscious decision, but a way that our brain is protecting us from repeating a feeling or illness associated with a certain food we ate or experience we had. Some common reasons for food aversions:

  • Previously choking or getting sick during or after eating a particular food e.g. pregnancy/ stomach bug/ spoilt food
  • Seeing someone else become ill after eating a particular food
  • Religious or cultural beliefs about a food
  • Traumatic experiences in your past which occurred during or around eating certain foods e.g. people who have become vegetarians after a traumatic slaughter experience on a farm as a child
  • Trends e.g. gluten intolerance, diets

PSYCHOLOGICAL INTERVENTION

At times it can be difficult to determine if a food aversion validates a diagnosis for IBS or if it should rather be seen as a psychological problem. Be that as it may, IBS and/or psychological problems can be dealt with and have a good prognosis.

After having treated many clients with food aversion and IBS, we have found that a combination of hypnotherapy and neurofeedback is a winning combination to treat those symptoms successfully. Decreasing the stress and changing the stressor or perception will help to reduce these symptoms without having to take medication.

For more information about treatments please contact us:
EQ Advantedge, www.eq-advantedge.co.za, 031-2668563, info@eq-advantedge.co.za.

WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?
There is no ‘one shoe fits all’ when it comes to the nutritional treatment of IBS. Digestion and food triggers differ from person to person. One of our products that may be beneficial to you if you suffer from IBS is FUTURELIFE® Smart Food™ as it is:
Free from most common occurring allergens including gluten, wheat, lactose and tree nuts.
High in energy, protein, dietary fibre and omega-3.

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