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Has anyone tried alternative therapies to try to manager their IBS symptoms? And has anyone been prescribed low dose anti-depressants?

Hi all. I've had IBS D for many years off and on. Frustratingly no clear triggers - some foods sometimes bother me, at other times they don't. Mood can be a significant factor. Very little seems to alleviate symptoms once they've started - apart from distraction (good book, film, telly, friends) - but sometimes I feel so rubbish that these don't help much.

I've just come back from a christmas holiday in Lanzarote which was spoiled by IBS and related anxiety/depression - every day I felt poorly with IBS symptoms and subsequently uspet and fed up about the way I was feeling.

Back home now my symptoms are improving and I'm dealing with them better. I'm now annoyed that this spoiled my holiday and with typical new year zeal I'm wanting to try to do something about it.

I feel that I've tried all the usual medical and dietary options, so am thinking more radically in terms of alternatives eg acupuncture or hypnotherapy. Or even discussing anti-depressants with my gp - I really am so fed up, and have read that low dose amitryptyline can have a beneficial effect on IBS symptoms.

Has anyone tried and had any success with any of the above?

Thanks in anticipation. Denisthemenace.

13 Replies

I have just posted on another person's question about anti-depressants so I'll post what I wrote about that to you too! :)

I am on 60mg amitriptyline for my IBS-D. I was recommended it three years ago when my night time cramps got really bad, to the point I either couldn't get to sleep or woke several times in the night but I was dubious because it's an anti-depressant and wouldn't accept a prescription. I only started taking it when I was really stressed two years ago due to uni exams and a family bereavement and my IBS-D went crazy and I couldn't sleep for the pain. My GP explained that in smaller doses it can alleviate pain, cramps, slow diarrhoea somewhat and help sleep. When I started on it, my GP gave me 10mg just so see if it would help and she slowly increased it in increments over a few months until I noticed a definite difference. I also have hypermobility so I suffer from leg and back cramps in my sleep and it helps those too and it also helps my migraines which are near enough non-existent now thanks to it. My GP would recommend it to any IBS-D sufferer. I'm on quite a high dose in terms of an IBS prescription but my dose takes all my other problems into consideration.

I had CBT in the form of stress management a few years ago which really helped me as well. There was a lot on how to manage the anxiety over my symptoms and how to de-stress. I've never had acupuncture for the gut but I have had acupuncture for sciatica which did help me so it could work on the gut but I can't comment on that. I have never had hypnotherapy as it isn't available on the NHS with my PCT but people on here who have had it have said it's been very helpful. Hope this helps! :)


Yes, it does help. Thanks for replying - it's a bit like trying to find a good plumber or electrician - always better if someone can recommend one!


No problem :) If my experiences help someone else, then I'm glad!


Hello, I've tried both. The antidepressant did not work for me, but was worth trying just in case. Acupuncture works really well for me, I've had reduced to little symptoms through regular acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Hope you find my info useful.


Hi Bibabunny

Thanks for the info. I have arranged to see an acupuncturist which I'm looking forward to, but I'm less sure about the herbal medicine. My gp has advised against it as she thinks there is potential for adverse interactions with other conventional medication I'm on at the moment (anti-depressants). But nothing to loose by giving the acupuncture a go.

Thanks again. Denisthemenace.


I have found that hypnotherapy works well for me. I have some specifically for IBS and some for deep relaxation as my IBS is definately stress related.

My advise is try everything but not at the same time. If you try several things together you wont know which one works.


Thanks scubaange. Helpful to know and good advice. With typical new year zeal I booked an acupuncture appointment and contacted a hypnotherapist, and then felt overwhelmed. So have had one acupuncture appt so far, and will see how it goes, then try hypno if needed.


Hope it all goes well Denisthemenaace, scubaange makes a good point in trying one thing at a time, advice I should follow!


Hi all

An update which might be helpful. I've had 4 lots of acupuncture and it's definitely helped. My guts have slowed down considerably and am now only going to the loo once or at most twice a day. I have fewer grumbles and less pain, and my usual triggers don't seem to be kicking in.

Here's hoping it lasts - the treatment was expensive at £38 a session. But worth it so far.



Hi all, I am a hypnotherapist and I use hypnosis to alleviate the symptoms of my clients with IBS. I am sure you know that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and The British Medical Association both recommmend hypnotherapy for IBS. I am starting a IBS hypnotherapy group based in Winchester, Hampshire in March. Many experts have trialed IBS and hypnosis and found that group hypnotherapy is as effective as 1:1. 4 out of 5 people who underwent a similar course as mine found their symptoms improved and remained with them for 2 years after the course ended. So my suggestion would be give it a go, but would also agree that it is always best to use on therapy at a time to see which one works best for you. If you have any questions, please get in touch


Thanks. I am going to bear it in mind, for coping better with anxiety, as well as my IBS - as I know for me the 2 are linked.


hey ive had pain for 3 years now, and they have no idea what the problem is i have pain under my right rib and feels like something is tuck or scratching. Does this sounds like ibs? i dotn have any problems with going to the toilet and are all normal. As are my bloods, ulrasounds and endoscopys and colonoscopies. im about to have my first accupunture session today i really hope it helps me :(


Hi there I have had ibs for 10 year and tried everything from a colonoscipy to accupuncher all the tablets under the sun all diffent diets my symotoms simalire to yours gp are crap there do nothing for ibs and my ones don't realy want to know it don't go on anti depressents they make you have dyiarrah soo they just make things worse I have tried hyposes and accupuncher hyposes is crap done nothing for me but accupuncher was amazing for my bowl movements moods stress paranoya I recomment accupuncher to any one and peppermint oil capuals you get from the supermarket are amazing


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