Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a condition where long term bowel symptoms are not caused by gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Find out more about how to manage your IBS.
It’s important that you have a diagnosis of IBS confirmed by your GP. Symptoms of IBS can often overlap with other GI diseases, so it’s important that these are ruled out.
Once you have a diagnosis of IBS, there are lots of things you can do yourself which may help manage your symptoms.
Please speak to your GP if:
- Your symptoms are not improving with treatment
- You get any new /different gut symptoms from those initially discussed
- You have unexplained weight loss
- You see blood in your stool
- You wake in the night to open your bowels
The symptoms of IBS can vary in severity, come and go, and worsen during periods of stress.
Treatments for IBS will vary depending on symptoms, but can include:
- changes to diet or lifestyle
- stress management strategies
We follow IBS management guidelines developed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Changes to diet and lifestyle can often be helpful in managing IBS symptoms. These short videos and information sheets explain more about IBS and dietary changes that can help.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and gut-directed hypnotherapy can be very effective in managing IBS. Gloucestershire Health and Care Trust offer a number of stress management and CBT resources.
There are mindfulness books and apps available, which could help relieve symptoms of IBS:
- Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams
- Mindfulness for health: A practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing by Vidyamala Burch and Dr Danny Penman
- CBT: Reclaim your life from IBS: A Scientifically Proven CBT Plan for Relief Without Restrictive Diets by Melissa G. Hunt
- Nerva (gut-directed hypnotherapy app, 7 day free trial)
If you consider gut-directed hypnotherapy, you should ensure your therapist is trained and registered with either: