Functional bowel disorders (IBS and non-IBS)
This chapter reviews the current evidence supporting the use of gut-directed hypnotherapy for patients with functional bowel disorders (FBDs). The function of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is primarily controlled by the enteric nervous system (ENS) in a semi-autonomous fashion, and many of the routine actions in the GI tract occur without influence of the central nervous system (CNS). One psychological treatment that has been most widely studied in patients with FBD is gut-directed hypnotherapy, which has been assessed in several randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as in some other functional GI disorders, with good overall results. Hypnotherapy is a verbal intervention that uses a special mental state of enhanced receptivity to suggestions in order to facilitate psychological and physiological changes. Gut-directed hypnotherapy as treatment in severe, refractory IBS was first described by the Manchester group in 1984.