The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that referral for psychological interventions (CBT, hypnotherapy and/or psychological therapy) should be considered for patients with IBS not responding to pharmacological treatments after one year and who develop a continuing symptom profile. Or those patients presenting with refractory IBS. The report also states “that gut directed hypnotherapy strategies provide IBS patients with benefits in a cost-effective manner”.
Currently hypnotherapy is used as a second line therapy option, normally for patients with unresolved IBS symptoms, who have not responded to a combination of management strategies. The NICE guidelines have included hypnotherapy as one of its top five research recommendations, with the potential for this intervention to be considered as a first line therapy option.
The guidelines note that with consideration as a first line therapy option, this treatment technique has potential to enable the IBS patient to deal with their symptoms by giving initial treatments that would have long term sustainability. This view was supported with evidence in children with IBS, which showed that hypnotherapy is clinically effective as a first line therapy.
The research that has led, in part, to this position follows:
Systematic review: the effectiveness of hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome abstract.
Hypnotherapy for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome abstract.
Mindfulness for irritable bowel syndrome: protocol development for a controlled clinical trial abstract.
Complementary and alternative medicine for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome abstract.
Hypnosis and upper digestive function and disease abstract.
Hypnotherapy for irritable bowel syndrome: The response of colonic and non-colonic symptoms abstract.
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