Background Gut-directed hypnotherapy is an effective treatment option for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, clinical observations suggest that patient satisfaction with hypnotherapy is not always associated with improvement in IBS symptoms.
Methods We evaluated 83 patients with IBS treated with gut-directed hypnotherapy (1 h week−1, 12 weeks). After the treatment period, patients reported their satisfaction with the treatment (ranging from 1 = not at all satisfied, to 5 = very satisfied) and completed questionnaires to assess IBS symptom severity, quality of life, cognitive function, sense of coherence, depression, and anxiety before and after treatment.
Key Results After hypnotherapy improved IBS symptom severity, quality of life, cognitive function, and anxiety were seen. Thirty patients (36%) were very satisfied with the treatment and 57 (69%) patients scored 4 or 5 on the patient satisfaction scale. Patient satisfaction was associated with less severe IBS symptoms and better quality of life after the treatment. In a multiple linear regression analysis, only the quality of life domain sexual relations was independently associated with patient satisfaction after hypnotherapy, explaining 22% of the variance. Using 25% reduction of IBS symptom severity to define an IBS symptom responder, 52% of the responders were very satisfied with hypnotherapy, but this was also true for 31% in the non-responder group.
Conclusions & Inferences Patient satisfaction with gut-directed hypnotherapy in IBS is associated with improvement of quality of life and gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. However, other factors unrelated to GI symptoms also seems to be of importance for patient satisfaction, as a substantial proportion of patients without GI symptom improvement were also very satisfied with this treatment option.