Greater use of hypnotherapy to ease the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome would help sufferers and might save money, says a gastroenterologist.
Dr Roland Valori, editor of Frontline Gastroenterology, said of the first 100 of his patients treated, symptoms improved significantly for nine in 10. He said that although previous research has shown hypnotherapy is effective for IBS sufferers, it is not widely used. This may be because doctors simply do not believe it works.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common gut problem which can cause abdominal pain, bloating, and sometimes diarrhoea or constipation.
Dr Valori, of Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, said the research evidence which shows that hypnotherapy could help sufferers of IBS was first published in the 1980s. He thinks it has been widely ignored because many doctors find it hard to believe that it does work, or to comprehend how it could work.