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IBS really ruined my whole life, and just like everyone here, I felt 
torn between being grateful I didn't have something "serious" and guilty for feeling like I was dying anyway. People treat you differently when they know that IBS is something that isn't "serious" as in life-threatening, but even my gastroenterologist told me that he could treat the pain of his colon cancer patients better than his IBS patients.
I was officially diagnosed in 1988, after about five years (1983) of not knowing why I was having increasingly severe diarrhea and abdominal pain.


With several colonoscopies later, (four total over the years) it was confirmed as IBS.
Trips to the Mayo Clinic and two other gastroenterologists further 
confirmed that every single prescription and OTC medication had little or no effect, and only short-term, if any:
Over the next 12 years or so, I was prescribed various IBS medications by my gastroenterologists and internal medicine physicians -



Some examples:
every antispasmodic including Hyoscyamine (Levbid/Levsin, and 
Levsin SL), Dicyclomine (Bentyl), as well as Donnatal, Tincture of 
 Belladonna, etc., several diets and diet modifications/food 
eliminations, fiber, the anti-depressant Amitriptyline (Elavil), various SSRIs (Prozac, Effexor and others), Codeine, Colpermin (enteric coated peppermint capsules), various other Antidiarrheal and/or Antiperistaltic prescriptions or OTC medications, as well as non-label use of prescriptions such as Seldane, which has a side-effect of constipation to combat my extreme diarrhea. There were other medications, and herbals as well.
My gastroenterologist finally told me that he had exhausted his 
treatment options, and to go look up other treatments on the internet. 


In my search, I found out about the use of clinical hypnotherapy for IBS through a fellow IBS sufferer on IBSGroup who  used this method successfully in 1999, but I thought this method was pretty far-fetched and seemed to be absurd to me.
But at this point I was desperate, now almost housebound with severe urgent diarrhea, painful cramping, and nothing helping, so I tried this treatment method as a last resort in the summer of 2000.


This treatment program is known as the IBS Audio Program 100. [ healthyaudio.com] It consists of a set of 
audio CDs or direct streaming containing clinically researched therapeutic sessions with a very specific listening schedule.


Michael Mahoney of Cheshire England is the author of this program. In 1998 his program became available to the public as a result of patient demand. Mike has many publications about him and by him and is one of the leading clinical hypnotherapists in England who works alongside gastroenterologists in his medical centre. He has been recognized by the Queen for his contributions in this field.)
Even though the program had been helping thousands of IBS patients, even prior to its availability to the public in 1998, I felt that this would not work for me, that I was a hopeless case, having been diagnosed as severe refractory IBS, and I doubted that anything of this sort would have any real helpful effects on my symptoms I was of a very negative, 
depressed mind-set from the beginning and throughout listening to the program. I had very little belief in it or the method. In fact, I 
thought it was rather bogus, and misleading to think anything of a brain-gut approach would help me. After all, the problem was in my gut not my mind or so I thought. I fought all the way,writing emails to Mike in England, how this wasn't working, and that I was relapsing, etc. I was a nightmare patient! An IBS poster child.
During the course of listening to the hypnotherapy sessions, I not only had to deal with IBS, but also I had several various surgeries, one on my foot, a gallbladder removal 
(which the doctor misdiagnosed as IBS pain), and removal of repositioned entangled ovaries. While the hypnotherapy program wasnt dealing with my IBS, I found out it helped me cope with the many other stressors and health issues in my life first, as these were the most pressing, once resolved, I re-listened to the program yet again , and my IBS began to 
improve. Very gradually at first, but one day, I realized, I hadn't had severe pain and urgency as often as I used to.
As the time passed, the urgency and diarrhea diminished substantially in 
fact, as time went on, I later realized that at the first hint of 
urgency, I automatically had what I would call an unspoken inner thought 
that said, in effect, I dont have time to deal with this now, or I dont 
want this now, go away and the urgency and impending diarrhea would 
subside within almost seconds. It was an automatic response, I didnt 
think it through. Just as in the past, my gut previously reacted as an 
automatic response to go into pain, cramps and urgency and severe diarrhea.
Due to the severity of my severe refractory IBS, as well as several non 
related surgeries, I listened to the entire program 3 times. Each time I 
saw better improvement I was the worst case scenario. Mike told me that 
the hypnotherapy program worked first on those health issues and 
stressors in my life that were most pressing to my overall health and 
that the IBS was dealt with last in my case but I persevered, and my 
symptoms greatly reduced. That was several years ago, and now I can 
actually leave the house, whereas before, I raised my children "through 
the bathroom door!" I had attacks of diarrhea and pain lasting for hours 
on end, sometimes six hours a day, almost every day, never knowing 
when...even if I ate small amounts, the attacks would come out of the blue.
Although not a cure, for me, it was the best thing 
I could have done to treat my IBS on a holistic level.
My IBS cost me a whole lost life...events and special celebrations for 
my kids, just taking them to routine doctor and dentist appointments was 
an ordeal.
I went from being able to travel and talk professionally in front of 
large groups of people, to being just about housebound.
This program saved my life. And that is  why I now help the author of the program, Michael Mahoney, as a result of my gratitude for getting my life back. As one of the slowest persons to respond, and with very severe symptoms, I feel that I do need
to pass on what was given to me and encourage others to not lose hope. 
Most people respond more quickly than I did, and I speak with sufferers all over who have gotten their lives back.
That's what worked for me and I hope this helps someone too. Thanks for 
letting me share! :)

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  • 4 months later...


Thanks for sharing your story.  I have actually read it both here and on Heather's website.  I am incredibly jealous of your progress.  I am in the same boat as you once were.  I do not believe there is anything that can help me get rid of the constant urge to use the bathroom.I am currently using Librax as an antispasmodic and welchol as a bile malabsorption binder.  While they help somewhat, I still have a constant urge to go to the bathroom about every two to three days.  I am working with a GI doctor to try to increase the bile binder because I have decided that this is a major contributing factor. After my gall bladder was removed, my IBS-D got much worse.  My diet is now reduced to fish, chicken, no dairy (except for occasional cheese), no red meat or pork, no fruits, bananas and rice.  I do eat some wheat products, although it is not a major part of my diet.  I have completed the 100 day hypnotherapy program without success.  I have recently started the program for the second time.   Still, not seeing any improvement.  I just cannot get myself to believe that hypnosis will work for me.  I would love to hear if you have any ideas, otherwise, I am frustrated to the point of tears.

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i am so sorry you are still suffering so. From personal experience I know that it is best if possible to not read, research or wrote about IBS or medical conditions while doing the program as this can greatly delay progress with symptom reduction. This is because the sessions are geared to break the mind body connection. Also I did not believe in hypnotherapy either, and feedback has shown that belief does not preclude success, many who did not believe were still helped with their symptoms, I have read your other posts, and it may be that you have a lot more going on than just IBS and that can play a part of things. iBS is complicated because no one treatment works for everyone, and sometimes things work for a time then don't, or works one time, then not, then does.... I know even within myself there were times things, or foods were OK and other times not.

Most folks have reported that the IBS Audio Program has been helpful to them, some folks have eliminated  completely, others have improved. I suspect from what you have posted there are many factors involved, and there are no guarantees as with other things you have tried. Since your symptoms have increased since retiring, that may be due to the fact that you have more time to be aware of body nuances. This would be a part of that mind-body connection. But medical conditions like gall bladder removal, etc are not a part of the IBS itself, though it can certainly increase symptoms because of stress. Medications can cause side effects too as you know.

i had to do the program over 3 times, and did top up listenings from time to time as well. I also got worse before I got better. I have had IBS since 1983 and since then, gall bladder removal, abdominal surgeries and cancer. I would just say, keep listening and try not to discuss, read or write about IBS and other medical conditions if you can help it. Sometimes you can't. Think of positives rather than negatives, you got to go on a trip and had some good time there, even if some down time. I know how that is, take the good times and concentrate on the times you felt OK. I know it's hard to do when you see others out there enjoying their lives. 

Hang in there and consider even doing the program a third time after waiting a few months. If nothing else, it is relaxing and calming and certainly won't hurt.


take good care and know that others before you have had good success, so there is always hope. All the best... :) 

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