Written by:
Emma Naughton
Published on:
March 12, 2022

Effectively Managing Digestive Health Issues

Digestive health effects both the body and mind.

The emotional effects that can result from chronic digestive functional disorders such as IBS, and from other conditions resulting from IBD such as Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis, can be as bad as the physical pain and distress.

Some of the more common emotional issues that can result from un-managed IBS, and IBD are:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression/low mood
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low self esteem and/or Low confidence
  • Obsessive thoughts
  • Anger/frustration
  • Embarrassment
  • Secrecy
  • Exhaustion

Many of the symptoms in conditions that affect the gut including Gastritis, Celiac disease, IBS and IBD are intensified by Stress, often the two go hand in hand, with stress exasperating the condition, the results of which lead to increased stress levels and it becomes a vicious cycle.

There is a researched and recognised connection between the amount of serotonin that is produced and the sensitivity of pain, if we are not producing enough serotonin it is likely that we will become hypersensitive to pain. We also know that the gut produces 95% of all serotonin in the body, and this is essential in maintaining the gut-brain communications. So this balance is essential in producing the right responses in the brain and the gut and to continue the digestive processing, when we have a large amount of adrenaline due to stress we know serotonin is decreased, and this disrupts the communication to the gut, digestion is essentially shut off when we are under large amounts or constant stress.

Cortisol is also an inflammatory and when prolonged amounts stay active in the body it is likely to irritate and cause more inflammation in the organs such as the gut.

Treatments of IBS, IBD and digestive disorders

It is essential that you consult with your GP and get a proper diagnosis if you suffer from any symptoms that have caused you problems and have not improved. The GP will likely send you for investigative tests to get a diagnosis.

Medication may be prescribed to help manage the condition, but there are also alternative treatments to support this.

Talking therapies such as CBT have been shown to have an improvement in the management of IBS. Hypnotherapy has also been shown to have a better outcome than medication in IBS sufferers where the medication has been taken for 12 months and symptoms are not improving.

Hypnotherapy can help by working on reducing the stress levels, low moods and anxiety that result from living with these conditions. It uses CBT, to identify some of the unhelpful behavioural issues that can result from having digestive issues, such as avoidance and planning. This is combined with challenging the negative forecasting that happens of what might go wrong. Trance is then used to relax and turn on the parasympathetic nervous system which is necessary for the digestive system, and reducing the adrenaline and cortisol levels.

If you would like more information on IBS then check out The IBS Network

For more information on how hypnotherapy can support digestive health issues get in touch for a free consultation.

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