Hypnotherapy and Endo Belly
Last updated: March 2023
There seems to be an interesting link between gut health and endometriosis. Research has shown that gut-focused hypnotherapy might be able to reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS) such as bloating, pain, and nausea by up to 70%1.
Women with endometriosis are far more likely to have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) than those without endometriosis1.
The link between gut health and endometriosis
Both conditions have some common features such as persistent abdominal pain, bloating, and chronic inflammation and they can leave sufferers debilitated1. Other symptoms reported in both endometriosis and IBS include fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
Scientific studies also report that sufferers have an altered microbiome (imbalanced gut bacteria), which further highlights the link between gut health and endometriosis2.
IBS is often diagnosed when other conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Coeliac Disease, or Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) have been ruled out, and because the cause of IBS is unknown, it makes it difficult to treat. Often drugs are not helpful.
Hypnotherapy as an endometriosis treatment
However, gut-focused hypnotherapy seems to be an effective treatment for IBS symptoms3. One study showed it is as effective as the low FODMAP diet for treating IBS3.
The low FODMAP diet is often used for those who have endometriosis and IBS. The diet involves restricting certain carbohydrates or sugars that are not absorbed properly in the gut which can lead to symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and gas.
Approximately 70% of those who were involved in the hypnotherapy study reported positive results from hypnotherapy, with a significant reduction in gut symptoms such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain3. It also showed that hypnotherapy was helpful for psychological health too with participants reporting less anxiety and depression.
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy gets the mind in a relaxed state and allows you to think about how you’re feeling. Gut-directed hypnotherapy works by influencing both the mind and body.
Gut symptoms can occur because of a problem with the gut-brain axis, which refers to the flow of information between the brain and the gut, and vice-versa. Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have been shown to affect the gut3.
Also, problems with the gut such as motility, which refers to the contractions of the muscles in the gut which move food along, or imbalanced gut bacteria can also contribute to gut symptoms.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy aims to help gut-brain communication which in turn may help improve symptoms.
While hypnotherapy shows promise, other mind-body practices such as yoga could also be beneficial, however, there is not enough scientific research to support yoga as an effective treatment for IBS as yet.
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