“Do I really need medication for IBS?”

“What’s causing my gut symptoms?”

If you continue to ask yourself the same question without answering it, you in fact create a state of malaise, anxiety or even panic by letting it float around.

Over 90% of my gut clients have pronounced anxiety either as their emotional and psychological state prior to developing gut symptoms, or have developed anxious thinking since their onset. Anxiety is simply an anticipation of a future event; it’s moving out of the now and into an unknown future. The now is where we want to be. Plus, there’s less questions in the now if we are doing the present moment for real.

The biggest question people living with gut symptoms are repetitively asking themselves is “what’s causing my symptoms?”

My wish is that I could answer that for you with assurance, and clarity, and give you a one step solution and you’d be on your way. This is the case for very few people, but sadly not most.


Well, the human body is complex, and our psychological state is powerful, so it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to grasp how many elements could be at play. That’s why you’ll find a smorgasbord of practitioners out there; there’s someone for everyone and it can be a hard slog to find the right practitioner or modality for you in the first place…doctor or practitioner shopping is rife in people with gut disorders. Keep looking though because IBS is a set of symptoms, not a cause, so taking IBS medication is really only applying a bandaid.

When we think a thought (consciously or unconsciously), our brain basically sees it in 3 baskets – positive, neutral or negative. The positive and the negative produce a physiological response which we feel in our body as an emotion, and a neutral thought is just that – beige. It doesn’t really produce anything, like if I asked you to look at the paint on your wall or your toothbrush, they probably don’t light up your life with joy or throw you down into the swampland of your soul. They just are.

So if you’re asking, “what’s causing my symptoms?” with stress and worry rather than open curiosity, your frontal cortex sends an alert signal to your amygdala, the fear centre of your brain. This then activates a fight or flight response and pumps stress hormones throughout your body. When those little puppies are pulsing around, your gut is directly affected.

Living in a state of chronic stress and anxiety is a sure fire way to develop gut symptoms, and if you already experience gut symptoms then this process is guaranteed to exacerbate them.

In our current times where there is no switching off, it’s no wonder more and more people are struggling with gut and other chronic symptoms.

So how do we stop this process from happening? Well, we either stop asking the question or we answer the question. I’ll give you a hot tip…if you want a quicker and easier solution, go with the first – stop asking.

I can hear the panic in you now as your mind is saying “yeah but if I know what the cause is, then I can fix it. I can’t stop until I know!”. I’ve read that all over your face before, I get it…

Check in right now on the level of stress and anxiety you feel by clutching and grasping for that answer. It’s ramped right up hasn’t it?

Let me pose something else to you, and see if your body softens. Feel yourself breathing – come right back in to this moment and just drop the question, all questions. Just feel what it’s like to be here so much so that there is no thinking. There are just the sounds around you, your breathing, the chair or ground beneath you, these words. Right here in this moment you’re OK. You don’t need to know anything.

If you’re still desperate to answer the question, “what’s causing my symptoms?” then how about this for an answer…” I don’t know right now and I’m willing in this moment to drop my quest for certainty and not know. I can tolerate this moment – right here, right now I’m OK”.

See if you can lightly hold this with you for a week.  There’s no guarantees that it will be easy, but it will bring you more calm and relaxation, and guess what happens to your gut when you’re in a relaxed state…your symptoms reduce and resolve.

Hello! That’s exactly what you want! You’ve got this. I believe in you.

Want to try something other than medication? I’ve got you covered in numerous ways. If one on one support is right up your alley then the Happy Inside Gut Focused Therapy Program is for you

If you need instantaneous relaxation that’s specific to your gut symptoms, grab yourself a copy of the Happy Inside iPhone app

About the author

Michelle White offers 8 years of clinical experience in gut focused therapy and gut directed hypnotherapy through Happy Inside; the program, iPhone app and podcast.