Mental health conditions are increasingly prevalent and can trigger disorders of the gut-brain axis (GBA), which have also been diagnosed more frequently in recent times. A global survey involving 54,127 participants from 26 countries found that 37.5% exhibited clinically relevant psychological distress and/or somatic symptom severity, which was associated with a 4.45-fold increased risk of GBA disorders.
In the U.S., the most common GBA disorders are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia. Mind-body therapies, such as gut-directed hypnotherapy (GDH), relaxation techniques, behavioral therapy, and psychotherapy, have shown effectiveness for these conditions. Despite the evidence, these methods are not widely adopted by gastroenterologists. However, two new studies on mindfulness approaches for IBS and functional dyspepsia might change this. One study by Chey and colleagues is the first to evaluate all-digital GDH for IBS patients. The study used the Regulora program, delivered via video call, and compared it with a digital progressive muscle relaxation program. The results showed comparable outcomes between the groups in various endpoints, including abdominal pain, stool consistency, and IBS quality-of-life score.