THE QUESTION Some studies have shown hypnotherapy effective in the short run for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), whose symptoms include stomach cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Do the benefits of hypnotherapy continue for extended periods?
THIS STUDY involved 204 people who had completed a course of hypnotherapy for IBS patients at least a year earlier. Fifty-eight percent of the men and 75 percent of the women reported significant symptom relief immediately after finishing the 12-week course of one- hour sessions, and more than 80 percent of those who reported initial relief were still improved up to six years later. Fewer than 10 percent of the participants tried other treatments after hypnotherapy.
WHO MAY BE AFFECTED BY THESE FINDINGS? People with irritable bowel syndrome.
CAVEATS The results are not based on a randomized trial. In addition, the participants reported their symptoms through questionnaires. Finally, the participants, who were treated at a hypnotherapy center, may have been more motivated than the general population.
BOTTOM LINE People with irritable bowel syndrome may wish to consult their physician about hypnotherapy.
FIND THIS STUDY November issue of Gut; abstract online at http://gut.bmj.com/
LEARN MORE ABOUT managing IBS at http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/ibs/ and www.mayoclinic.com