General practitioners believe that hypnotherapy could be a useful treatment for irritable bowel syndrome in primary care
Cox S., De Lusignan S., Chan T.
Background: Irritable bowel syndrome is a common condition in general practice. It occurs in 10 to 20% of the population, but less than half seek medical assistance with the complaint. Methods A questionnaire was sent to the 406 GPs listed on the West Sussex Health Authority Medical List to investigate their views of this condition and whether they felt hypnotherapy had a place in its management. Results: 38% of general practitioners responded. The achieved sample shared the characteristics of target sample. Nearly half thought that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) was a "nervous complaint" and used a combination of "the placebo effect of personal care," therapeutic, and dietary advice. There is considerable divergence in the perceived effectiveness of current approaches. Over 70% thought that hypnotherapy may have a role in the management of patients with IBS; though the majority (68%) felt that this should not be offered by general practitioners. 84% felt that this should be offered by qualified hypnotherapist, with 40% feeling that this should be offered outside the health service. Conclusions: General practitioners vary in their perceptions of what constitutes effective therapy in IBS. They are willing to consider referral to a qualified hypnotherapist. © 2004 Cox et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.