IBS patients more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety
Sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome will be cheered by the news that hypnotherapy may offer them relief from the condition.
IBS affects around one in five people in the UK during the course of their lives, but conventional treatments struggle to have an impact.
Small-scale pilot tests have now found hypnotherapy can be a successful way of managing the symptoms.
Sufferers of IBS endure abdominal pain, bloating and irregular bowel habits.
Doctors have found the symptoms can be relieved with antidepressants and psychological care, according to the British Medical Journal.
The investigation found patients with IBS are more likely to suffer from depression and "abnormal" behaviour patterns, including anxiety.
They also display somatisation – the conversion of emotional, mental, or psychosocial problems into physical complaints.
Cognitive behavioural therapy – also known as talking therapy - is known to have achieved results as effective as antidepressant treatment, and its benefits last longer, the authors claim.
But Dr Ian Forgacs, from the Department of Gastroenterology at King's College Hospital, London, who led the study, said further tests are needed before hypnotherapy can be adopted on a large scale.
He said: "Hypnotherapy has been found to be an effective intervention for IBS in small trials, although a recent review of hypnotherapy trials found insufficient evidence to recommend its widespread use."