IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME OVERVIEW
IBS is a functional bowel disorder of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract characterized by recurrent abdominal pain and discomfort accompanied by alterations in bowel function, diarrhea, constipation or a combination of both, typically over months or years. A diagnosis of IBS has been reported by 10-20% of adults in the United States, and symptoms of IBS are responsible for over 3 million yearly visits to physicians. Research suggests that IBS is one of the most common functional GI disorders. IBS exhibits a predominance in women, with females representing over 70% of IBS sufferers.
The diagnostic criteria of Irritable Bowel Syndrome always presumes the absence of a structural or biochemical explanation for the symptoms and is made only by your health care professional after gathering a careful medical history and giving a thorough physical exam. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can be diagnosed based on at least 12 weeks, which need not be consecutive, in the preceding 12 months of abdominal discomfort or pain that has two out of three features:
- Relieved with defecation; and/or
- Onset associated with a change in frequency of stool; and/or
- Onset associated with a change in form (appearance) of stool.
- Symptoms that support the diagnosis of IBS:
- Abnormal stool frequency (may be defined as greater than 3 bowel movements per day and less than 3 bowel movements per week);
- Abnormal stool form (lumpy/hard or loose/watery stool);
- Abnormal stool passage (straining, urgency, or feeling of incomplete evacuation);
- Passage of mucus;
- Bloating or feeling of abdominal distension
TREATMENT OF IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME
I presently use a structured treatment protocol utilizing hypnosis designed by Olafur Palsson, Psy.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill This design calls for seven bi-monthly sessions using scripted hypnotic sessions supported by the home use of a 10-15 minute hypnotic audiotape. Information about the program and supporting research can be viewed by clicking here.
LINKS TO IBS INFORMATION SITES
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Web Sites
(The IBS Page-A collection of official links and personal stories)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Self Help and Support Group
- IBSHypnosis.com (Olafur Palsson, Psy.D.)
- What I need to know about Irritable Bowel Syndrome
(National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse)