Functional abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are highly prevalent in childhood.
The team found that a substantial proportion of patients continue to experience long-lasting symptoms.
Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of adult irritable bowel syndrome patients.
|Pain intensity scores decreased in the hypnotherapy group from 14 to 1|
Dr Arine Vlieger and colleagues from the Netherlands undertook a randomized controlled trial and compared hypnotherapy with standard medical therapy in children with functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome.
The team assessed 53 pediatric patients, age 8 to 18 years, with functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome.
The team randomized 31 patiets to either hypnotherapy or 22 to standard medical therapy.
Hypnotherapy consisted of 6 sessions over a 3-month period.
Patients in the standard medical therapy group received standard medical care, and 6 sessions of supportive therapy.
Pain intensity, pain frequency, and associated symptoms were scored in weekly standardized abdominal pain diaries at baseline, during therapy, and 6 and 12 months after therapy.
The researchers found that pain scores decreased significantly in both groups from baseline to 1 year follow-up.
Pain intensity scores decreased in the hypnotherapy group from 14 to 1, and in the standard medical therapy group from 14 to 8.
The research team found that pain frequency scores decreased from 14 to 1 in the hypnotherapy group, and from 14 to 9 in the standard medical therapy group.
The team observed that hypnotherapy was highly superior, with a significantly greater reduction in pain scores compared with standard medical therapy.
At 1 year follow-up, successful treatment was accomplished in 85% of the hypnotherapy group, and 25% of the standard medical therapy group.
Dr Vlieger's team concluded, "Gut-directed hypnotherapy is highly effective in the treatment of children with longstanding functional abdominal pain or irritable bowel syndrome."