Vanderbilt Researchers Find Benefits of Psychological Therapy To Treat IBS

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Researchers at Vanderbilt University might have a solution for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Senior author Lynn S. Walker says researchers analyzed data of the effects psychological therapy such as hypnosis, meditation, relaxation and cognitive therapies had on people who suffered from IBS. The results of the study found benefits of psychological therapy "appear to last at least 6-12 months," easing stress and symptoms.

IBS affects up to 16 percent of the U.S. population and has no cure. The study analyzed results of 41 clinical trials across the globe that evaluated 2,200 patients. It is the first to look at long-term effects of psychological therapy.

Vanderbilt doctoral student Kelsey Laird says the findings are important because IBS symptoms can cause stress and anxiety, which leads to more gastrointestinal issues, causing a "vicious cycle."

The study also found it didn't matter what therapy was chosen (even if it was conducted online), the benefits were just as effective.


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