Sixty million Americans deal with this uncomfortable sensation at least once a month — heartburn. It’s not only painful, but can be life-altering, or even deadly if ignored. No wonder that heartburn and other gastrointestinal medications are among the most popular drugs on the market. But these “miracle drugs” are far from perfect; some patients report mixed results and long-term side effects.
For patients who don’t get relief from medication, their gastroenterologists are turning to psychologists for help. Hypnotherapy can be an effective treatment for heartburn and other stomach conditions. It’s a powerful alternative treatment, backed with plenty of scientific evidence, that is increasingly being offered at the nation’s leading medical centers.
“There’s a robust amount of literature behind hypnotherapy beginning in the 1980s,” said Laurie Keefer, Ph.D, director of psychosocial research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. “We’ve really taken to calling it brain-gut therapy.”
Hypnosis, which exploits the relationship between the mind and digestive system, can also help with conditions like GERD and the inflammatory bowel diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Untreated GERD has been linked to esophageal cancer.
Amber Ponticelli, 35, started having digestive problems in 2007. Initially, she only felt dizzy and weak in the morning, but soon developed severe abdominal pain. Unable to eat or drink for months, she lost 20 pounds and was ultimately left bedridden. After seeing multiple gastroenterologists at leading medical institutions, she was eventually diagnosed with a genetic condition that is associated with many GI symptoms.
“I thought I was dying. I had to quit my job and ended up moving to the city with my boyfriend just to be closer to the doctors I was seeing in the city,” Ponticelli told NBC News.
Studies show more than three quarters of patients experience at least a 50 percent reduction in symptoms. Many are able to stop medication, including popular acid reducing drugs.
Full article available and sourced from: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/tummy-troubles-hypnosis-might-be-answer-n778556