New research reveals tailored psychological therapy is more effective than current IBS treatments. We spoke to experts, and a sufferer who tried it.
How’s your stomach feeling today? Bloated, cramped, gassy? Maybe it’s been days since you went to the toilet, or perhaps you’ve lost count of how many times you’ve been. These are the typical symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a gastrointestinal condition that affects between one-tenth and one-fifth of the UK population. As well as physical symptoms, there can be emotional and behavioural symptoms too, such as worrying about where the nearest loo is, or cutting out a certain food because your symptoms have flared up.
Emotional thoughts and behaviours have been at the forefront of new research recently published in the journal Gut. It found that cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for IBS sufferers. In fact, researchers concluded CBT is more effective than other current medications and diet advice.