April is IBS awareness month!

Natalie Mears
Written by Natalie Mears

IBS awareness month is a world-wide campaign designed to raise awareness of IBS, which stands for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Natalie Mears is very passionate about this because she’s an ex-IBS sufferer, and had IBS for 14 years.

IBS is a condition which affects the digestive system. People often feel awkward talking about IBS because the symptoms include:

  • bloating
  • constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • stomach pain / cramps
  • farting

IBS is more common than you might realise…at least 1 in 10 people have IBS!

Living with IBS is often painful and emotionally challenging, and the symptoms have a huge impact on the person’s quality of life. The person may be struggling in school/work, they may feel restricted in what they wear, what they eat and the symptoms may stop the person doing things they want to do like dating, getting a new job, going to the cinema or travelling.

Understandably, IBS often affects the mental health of the person too. It’s not uncommon for people with IBS to experience stress, anxiety, depression as well as suicidal thoughts.

If you are suffering with IBS, you are not alone! You’re not the only one, others do understand what you’re going through. Listen to Natalie’s IBS Story (A Podcast about her IBS journey) to hear her experience of living with IBS for 14 years.

Available on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAnchor and YouTube.

If you are struggling to manage the IBS symptoms and you have been on IBS medication for 12 months and not had an improvement did you know that there is a medically proven way to get long-lasting relief from IBS? …it’s not the low FODMAP diet!

Hypnotherapy and CBT have been scientifically proven to help IBS sufferers get relief from the symptoms. These therapies help by changing the communication between the gut and the brain.

If you have IBS and looking to get relief from the IBS book a free, no obligation consultation Zoom call with Natalie.

And in the meantime, here are two simple techniques you can try right now.

  • 7/11 exercise: Breathe in through your nose for a count of seconds, inflating your belly. Breathe out through your mouth, slowly and gently, as if blowing through a straw for a count of 11 seconds. Feel any tension in your body releasing as you do this. Breathing in this way activates your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, putting your digestive system into a state of “rest and digest”, which will help ease symptoms.
  • Balloon deflation: Feeling bloated? This visualisation is for you! Imagine your tummy as if it were a balloon filled with air, and imagine the balloon is gently deflating. Focus on the sense of relief and comfort you would feel as your tummy falls and deflates. You can create your own images to match the symptoms e.g. if you feel knots in your stomach, imagine the knots turning to silk ribbons which unknot easily. 

You can contact the Samaritans helpline by calling 116 123. The helpline is free and open 24 hours a day every day of the year.

You can also contact Samaritans by emailing jo@samaritans.org. The average response time is 24 hours.

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