IBS: Why Western medicine is failing us


When was the last time you went to see a doctor or specialist, and you came out with the distinct impression that they didn’t really know anything about IBS?

I did this so often I gave up going. My doctor had no clue how I worked – and neither did I back then. I didn’t feel seen or heard. And over time with a great deal of trial and error I learned. I grew to understand exactly what was going on inside myself, and set out to recover from it. Without any prescription drugs.

Why Western medicine is failing to see you

Firstly, it just considers us as a physical body, treating us a bit like car mechanics. This is of immense value if we have a physical accident and need repairing. However it is not adapted to treating more complex conditions like IBS. It also separates the functioning into different disciplines. There is a specialist for each part. Working separately, not connecting the dots.

connecting the dots

Secondly, each of us has a physical body, but also a mind, emotions and energy. And all of these different levels of ourselves work together – not separately. Emotions can create physical problems. Energy blockages can too. Even how we think on a day-to-day basis can affect our physical body. By ignoring this reality, Western medicine is missing a big part of the picture.

Western medicine versus IBS

If we are in pain, doctors will either prescribe us a pill to numb it down, like trying to get a child to be quiet. In time specialists may suggest we need to have that troublesome part removed, or replaced. We have been taught that others know best about our health. But the traditional Western approach only looks for a physical root for any physical problem we may have. And it does not entertain the idea that if your address the root of the problem, your physical body has the capacity to heal itself, without the use of chemicals or operations.

No wonder then that IBS, with its deep nervous and emotional roots and physical symptoms, is too complex for our traditional Western approach.  We go and see specialists who may well do a fantastic job at their part of the answer, but just do not see the rest of the equation. They are specialized. They are not used to looking further than their particular hill.

My holistic IBS Toolbox

This is why I stopped looking to doctors and specialists for answers that they just didn’t have. I did have, and still recommend, having a colonoscopy to make sure you “just have IBS”.

To recover from IBS we need an extensive toolbox, not just one method. Because we are all different. Our stories, our life experiences, our beliefs and our triggers are all different.

I became certified in neuro-linguistic programming and use NLP as part of my holistic IBS toolbox,. When you delve more deeply into neuro-linguistic programming, it is an extraordinary approach developed by Richard Bandler and John Grindler in the 1970’s. They understood the interrelation between the mind and the body. No feeble theories on the brain-gut connection. They understood how trauma could be a single event, or how soft trauma ie. low levels of trauma repeated for a long period could rewire our reactions to subsequent events – both mentally, emotionally and physically. Our minds can get over a particular happening, but we can keep an imprint of that trauma deep inside our bodies.

The IBS lightening flash

I am convinced that the build-up of trauma is an issue for many IBS sufferers. And this is what creates that sort of lightening flash that seems to deregulate our normal bodily functions and sets them off on a new programme.

lBS lightening flash

When you tell this to your doctor, they may assume that you had a case of badly treated gastroenteritis or some other post-infectious condition. This is  logical. However, if that were the case, it is unlikely you would continue suffering for years afterwards.

Your mind and body reacted to what became a trigger – and does this every time you hit that trigger, whether this is every day, or just from time to time. As we live and learn new associations if they are repeated often enough, new triggers can also hook onto the original ones. This can be why you may experience new immune reactions (like new food intolerance), depression and anxiety, and even new physical symptoms too.

The good news is that if you can find your triggers, you can trace them back to their origin and start untying the knots. That’s what I did. With neuro-linguistic programming it is often possible to slightly alter your perspective around that trigger- and in turn alter the subconscious automatic reaction to it.

And if NLP won’t do it, there are many other techniques I have learned that will.



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