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Alan G. Is IBS a lifelong condition?

Discussion in 'Ask a TMS Therapist' started by Karen1954, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. Karen1954

    Karen1954 Newcomer

    This question was submitted via our Ask a TMS Therapist program. To submit your question, click here.

    I have been told my IBS will be with me the rest of my life. Just started reading Dr. Schubiner's book and am hoping this will help. I know this all started with stress. Now in the last year I have severe anal and rectal problems associated with the IBS. There are no TMS doctors near me. Anything I can do to alleviate these problems?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2016
  2. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Ridiculous. IBS is nothing more than the consequence of constriction of certain muscles in your abdomen.

    Try clenching your fist. Now hold it there for a minute. Hurts right? Now what if I told you that your fist pain would be with you the rest of your life? You'd say bullocks. You'd just unclench your fist and you're all better.

    That's all that IBS related pain/constipation/diahrrea is, it's the result of an unconscious clenching. Now, you can't unclench your abdomen as easily as you can your fist, because you don't have as much conscious control, but this unconscious clenching is the result of existing in a chronic state of fight or flight. The way to unclench is to work to bringing yourself out of this chronic state of fight or flight. Essentially teach your primitive brain that the world is safe, so that you can unconsciously put your guard down.

    I feel like I've been talking about this a lot lately.


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  3. westb

    westb Well known member

    Thanks for this question and the reply. I too have IBS and rectal/anal pain spasm. Horrible. The rectal pain imanifests itself very close to lower back/seat bone area where I had severe back pain and muscle spasm for many years. That eventually cleared up with treatment and the IBS pain took its place!

    Not a surprise therefore that I fit the TMS personality type to a T. As suggested I'm trying simply to calm down the fight/flight response in my gut. Not to get panicky when the bloating starts up or when the gut and rectal spasm strikes, deep breathing, distraction, soothing affirmations. Am trusting/hoping that while it seems like such a steep mountain to climb to conquer this, it can be done.
  4. Cheryl

    Cheryl Peer Supporter

    Thanks, Alan. This is THE BEST explaination for IBS I've ever heard....and extremely helpful!
    freedomseeker and Sienna like this.
  5. DonnaJean

    DonnaJean New Member

    NO! I had IBS for about 4 years and I suffered terribly with it. I have not had any symptoms for the last year or so (praise God) and now my bowels move normally. You will get through this! God Bless.
    Sienna likes this.
  6. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Hello Alam,

    Thank you for your kind reply and insight.

    I have previously overcome TMS symptoms like back pain and fatigue, but with IBS this has not worked.
    My intestine is so sentive to every food I eat, I had to quit eating lots of things from milk, spicy, sauces.. to even tap water! ... and the thing is that it is getting more and more sensitive with time. From last summer I cannot have even fruits like melon, Mango or oranges because of the irritation they give to my gastrointestinal system.

    Do you really think it is only a muscle spasm? I thought it would be a question of chemicals, PH, acid, some lack of them so therefore the sensitiveness .

    I was getting faithless with this symptom, do you really think we can cure it treating it as TMS?
    In that case, I would find it so difficult to rewire my brain after so many years of condiitoning.. "I won't eat this because it gives me pain and will break the balance in my intestine, then I cannot eat normal for a few days....

    Thank you!

    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  7. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Thank you Donna for your inspiring story.
    What did you do in your case? it just disappeared after the stress was gone or did you work on it?

  8. DonnaJean

    DonnaJean New Member

    I tried a ton of different diets...FODMAPS...gluten free and on and on. Finally it just went away!
    Sienna likes this.
  9. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    I was diagnosed with IBS many years ago, and found a way, through a LOT of experimentation and dietary changes, to manage it quite well. Now it's very rare that I have colon trouble--and it's usually a result of picking up a bug in a foreign country!
  10. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    Hey Sienna,
    Reach out to Dr. Dave Clarke (drdave@stressillness.com) He may be able to give you some clarity based on your diagnostic tests. Often a legitimate food allergy and a simple conditioned response can look the same. It's important to rule out anything pathologically legitimate before approaching things from a TMS perspective.

    That being said, I've worked with many people who, like you, had specific and extreme responses to certain foods, and it ended up being TMS.

    Sienna likes this.
  11. PussInBootz

    PussInBootz New Member

    Ok.... I am totally new here and new to TMS but from the way I am understanding it simply telling yourself that your body is under stress when you eat these foods is like telling yourself you can't lift something because of your bad back. I am reading Healing Back Pain at the moment and it says to trust your body is able to do these things, have a word with your brain, and then go and do them. I would have thought that if the IBS is due to TMS then it's a case of starting with one food, having a word with your brain and then eating it.

    I have mild IBS and my stomach gets upset with raw food (try telling the raw foodists this!). Before I found TMS I used EFT/Tapping on apples... and now I can eat apples, I never used to be able to.

    I have managed to almost completely fix my RSI problems with the TMS theory, I plan to carry on, one symptom at a time, to try and see if I can clear them... once I have done more reading and work.

    As I say, I am totally new so I may have got this wrong... if I have please accept my apologies.
    grapefruit, nele and Sienna like this.
  12. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Thanks again Alan, I will.
    I am quite sure it might be tms as it has developped after my 30's and not before... and it is getting worse with time, but I used to think it was just an extreme sensitiveness.

    When you make an example with the fist, the thing is.. our stomach will not suffer pain unless we eat certain foods.. how can this muscle tension affect only on some kind of food?

    Thank you
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  13. Alan Gordon LCSW

    Alan Gordon LCSW TMS Therapist

    That would just be a conditioned response. We clench when we sense danger, so it makes sense if you think of these foods as dangerous.
    nele likes this.
  14. nele

    nele Peer Supporter

    Hello Alan,
    thank you very match for your explanations. Now I can understand my IBS much better. I also read your TMS recovery program, which gave me some very good hints (I made my evidence sheet).
    When you seek advice for IBS you are told: eat carefully, not too heavy, small portions, ... So when my bowels cramped and my abdomen was bloated I automatically connected it with the intake of food. As a result I ate more and more cautiously, I lost weight (now at BMI 17,5), but the symptoms increased. I slept bad and little. I was desperate.
    Four weeks ago I took part in a meditation retreat. What I found out: during this week my bowels acted quite differently, more healthy. This was a sign!
    That day I felt: when IBS is really psychosomatic (= TMS), the food is irrelevant!!! I started to eat more and heavier food, and I felt my fear when preparing and eating my food. First days were hard, now it is easier. My symptoms decreased a bit. I am gaining weight, but still do I fear to eat heavy meals and so far avoid some food. On the other hand I try to eat very delicious meals.
    Furthermore I take some medication again bloating. But should'nt I drop it?
    Sienna likes this.
  15. Sanosuke

    Sanosuke New Member


    So i'm in the same boat as many of you and my question is how do you battle IBS? Do you just eat exactly what you want and try to ignore it?

    I remember a time when i could eat anything without getting bloated, now that i think of it it has only gotten worse and worse since i've tryed to eat healty.
    Sienna likes this.
  16. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Thank you Nele for sharing your evvperience, it is quite revealing to us!
  17. Sienna

    Sienna Well known member

    Hi Alan,

    Could you give us some advice as to how to challenge the intestine/brain and resume some foods we have been avoiding for a long time?
    Thank you
  18. karinabrown

    karinabrown Well known member

    @Alan Gordon LCSW :

    This explanation of IBS, like clenching your abdominal muscles is the problem, is refreshing and hopeful
    to me.( Alhough unclenching is a big issue)
    But i would love to know if this is the whole IBS problem in your opnion?
    So: all sorts of dieets or avoiding food are useless (unless you have a real gluten issue ) ??
    Could IBS be cured in your opnion?
    What if you suffer 20 + years with this condition.. could you unlearn even then?

  19. Cheryl

    Cheryl Peer Supporter

    Isn’t the pain of IBS.. neural pathways that have learned to signal pain to the brain when there is no reason for it? After many years of learning and practicing ways to calm the CNS and tamp down the flight or fight response, I still have pain. Trying to change neural pathways seems damn near impossible!
  20. magicjim

    magicjim Peer Supporter

    Hi Alan,

    Thank you for all of the work you have done and resources that you have provided.

    About 6 years ago, I discovered Sarno's books and was cured of crippling back pain. I now have some GI issues even though my colonoscopy, upper and endoscopy and CT scans are all normal.

    I live in Boston. Do your therapists take insurance through Skype sessions? I am a public school teacher and not able to pay full consultation fees out of pocket.

    Warmest regards,
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2019

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