What is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

What is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a.k.a IBS) is a gastrointestinal condition that affects the large bowel.

There are many different estimates for how much of the population is affected by IBS, however, most reports state that around 1 in 5 Australians are thought to have symptoms of IBS at some point in their life, with women more likely to experience IBS than men.

IBS has more recently been classified as a disorder of the gut-brain interaction (DGBI) – which essentially means there is a miscommunication in the way the gut and brain send messages and information to each other.

Importantly, IBS is not classed as a disease and although it is not considered life-threatening or dangerous, the symptoms can be quite uncomfortable and can have serious impacts on a persons day to day life.

The exact causes of IBS are not clear, and there is currently no known ‘cure’ for IBS. Conventional treatments such as diet and medications are often implemented with an aim on reducing symptom severity. Although gut directed hypnotherapy is not a new concept (first study published over 40 years ago) it has gained more attention over recent years for its effectiveness in the management of IBS symptoms.

What are the symptoms of IBS?

The severity of IBS symptoms can fluctuate and they can sometimes be made worse during times of stress or after eating.

Abdominal pain and cramps

Changes in stool form (constipation, diarrhoea or a mixture of both)

Increased flatulence (farting / wind)

Bloating or a feeling of tightness in your gut (physical abdominal distention may also be present)

Urgency – sudden feeling or need to open your bowels

Passing of mucus

Feeling of incomplete evacuation of stool

Nausea, reflux and sometimes vomiting

Non gut symptoms can also include:

Fatigue / feeling lethargic





How is IBS diagnosed?

Although IBS is not a disease, it must still be diagnosed by a medical practitioner. This is because the symptoms of IBS can overlap with symptoms of other more serious medical conditions that must be ruled out first.

If all medical tests come back as normal, the Rome IV criteria can be used to diagnose IBS.

Essentially, a person must have recurrent abdominal pain for at least 1 day each week in the last 3 months associated with at least 2 or more of the below symptoms:

  • Pain related to bowel motions
  • Change in the frequency of stools
  • Change in stool consistency or appearance


As a Nutritionist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, I can not diagnose IBS.

A clear diagnosis must be obtained by a qualified medical practitioner before implementing any treatments or protocols.

What is Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (a.k.a IBS) is a gastrointestinal condition that affects the large bowel.

How can Gut-directed Hypnotherapy help?

Gut-directed hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that uses hypnosis to provide symptom relief for those with IBS.

During gut-directed hypnotherapy, the therapist guides the individual into a state of deep relaxation. Suggestions and imagery are used to help the individual manage their abdominal and bowel discomfort.

Studies on hypnotherapy for IBS date back to the 1980’s and have demonstrated it to be an effective tool for reducing IBS symptoms such as pain / bloating and for improving stool form and frequency.

However, not everyone is a good candidate for gut-directed hypnotherapy. Individuals with certain psychiatric conditions, such as schizophrenia or severe depression, may not be suitable for this type of therapy. Additionally, individuals who are unable to enter a state of hypnosis, such as those with severe anxiety or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may not benefit from this type of therapy.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy should only be performed by a qualified healthcare professional who is trained in this technique. It is not a substitute for medical treatment and should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for IBS.

Microbiome testing and IBS

Deep inside your gut live trillions of microbes – mostly bacteria, which feed on the foods you consume and in return, they produce substances that impact your health.

These substances can also play a role in the communication between your gut and brain. By assessing the whole gut microbiome and gastrointestinal health markers, I am able to understand how the gut bacteria living in your large intestine may be playing in your IBS symptoms and overall health.

Using an evidenced-based practitioner only report, let’s test your microbiome and not guess which gut bacteria are in your gut. Supporting beneficial bacteria to thrive whist crowding out less desirable species can improve the health of your gut and boost overall wellbeing too.

Do you need a microbiome test?

I highly recommend completing a microbiome test to investigate if there is a microbial component to your symptoms and before undergoing any restrictive diets such as the low FODMAP diet.

If you have a recent gut microbiome test which utilises the most up to date technology (metagenomic sequencing) then you will not need a referral for a new test*.

*If you have undergone some major diet, lifestyle or medication changes you may need to retest to gain a new baseline measurement

find out more

A cohesive treatment for IBS symptoms

The Gut Microbiome

Gut Nutrition and IBS

Gut Directed Hypnotherapy

Start living your best life without the limitations of IBS

The Hypnobiome is a six week program using the power of hypnotherapy to reduce your IBS symptom severity