Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gut Problems: Using Your Head to Heal

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is at once the most stressful, frustrating problem and the simplest. You are in pain or tied to the bathroom, often feeling totally out of control of your life and helpless. You run to the doctor and try this medicine and that, and nothing really helps. Your frustration increases, and perhaps morphs into fear as you begin to feel helpless. This, it would seem, then increases the problems in your gut. Sometimes certain foods seem to exacerbate it, and the doc probably puts you on some sort of diet. Sometimes this helps; other times not at all. You might become phobic about leaving the house, going for a jog, or eating pizza. Your life feels as if it is closing in.

There IS hope. IBS is a functional gut disorder. This means there is no disease process, pathogen, or damage to your organs. They are just not working right. While there is rarely only one cause for anything, and I am sure there are more causes for IBS than those that show up in my office, the people who come to me for help fall into two basic categories: those with mostly psychological stress factors impacting their gut, and those who have some history of severe disruption of the gut biome such as massive doses of antibiotics or steroids, or, possibly both issues.

Medical science is really just beginning to understand the gut biome. We know some illnesses as well as many disruptions of immunity and gut function are caused by dysfunctional intestinal flora, but we do not yet have a consistent and reliable method to repair it. Some physicians are more versed than others in how to do this, but getting that gut well-populated is most often part of the cure of IBS. For this, you will seek out a physician knowledgeable in restoring the gut flora.

The other part of all functional gut disorders is stress management. We know that stress affects the function of the digestive tract musculature, the pH of the stomach, and the overall functioning of the immune system, and much more. We further know that life, without exception, contains stress. Thus, learning to mediate the stress in your life so that it does not disrupt your body is important. That is where the Dr. Low and the Center for Conscious Living can help.

One other thing we know that is often surprising to my clients, is that hypnosis is the most effective known cure for IBS and other functional gut disorders. Research has consistently demonstrated that using hypnosis helps to re-regulate gut functions as well as immune functions. This is one of those lovely surprises that serves to remind us how powerful the mind is. Use your head to cure your gut. Call me at 630-249-1983 to learn more today.

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