05/23/07 02:56 PM
Hypnotherapy Called a Cure for Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Hypnotherapy Highly Effective for Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Functional Abdominal Pain: Presented at DDW

By Bruce Sylvester

WASHINGTON, DC -- May 22, 2007 -- Hypnotherapy is effective for the treatment of children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional abdominal pain (FAP), investigators reported here at Digestive Diseases Week (DDW).

"The children we studied had very long-lasting symptoms, and hypnotherapy proved to be highly effective with this group," said lead investigator and presenter Arine Vlieger, MD, PhD, pediatrics fellow, St. Antonius Hospital, Nieuwegein, Netherlands.

FAP and IBS are among the most common reasons for consultation in pediatrics, with reported prevalence rates of 1% to 19%, according to Dr. Vlieger and colleagues. Treatment usually consists of education, reassurance and dietary advice. Among children treated with the standard approach, 25% to 66% continue to experience symptoms.

Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of adult patients with IBS. So Dr. Vlieger and colleagues conducted a study to evaluate this treatment approach in a pediatric population.

The investigators enrolled 53 children between the ages of 8 and 18 years who had been diagnosed with IBS or FAP. The subjects were randomized to standard therapy or to 6 hypnotherapy sessions of 30 minutes over a 3-month period. The endpoints of the study were pain intensity, pain frequency, as nausea, headache and appetite.

The investigators recorded findings at baseline and at 1, 2, and 3 months after randomization, and 6 and 12 months after therapy. They defined a cure as a greater than 80% improvement in pain.

At 3 months, the investigators observed a cure rate of 59% for treated subjects versus 12% in subjects receiving conventional therapy. After 1 year, the cure rate reached 85% for hypnotherapy-treated subjects and 25% for those receiving conventional therapy.

The authors concluded, "Gut-directed hypnotherapy is highly superior to conventional therapy in the treatment of children with longstanding FAP or IBS. Further studies are warranted to confirm our findings."


See the full study here...

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