Research into a new treatment for abdominal pain in children


Can hypnotherapy help children with long-term stomach pains?

The Department of General Practice and Geriatric Medicine at UMCG is researching a new treatment for abdominal pain in children. The purpose of the study is to see if hypnotherapy as a home treatment can help children with long-lasting abdominal pain who come to the doctor. All children aged 7 to 17 years with long-term abdominal pain can now register for this study, even if they have not yet visited their GP.

Long-term abdominal pain is common in children. In most cases, the abdominal pain is functional. This means that the abdominal pain is not due to an abnormality in the organs. There is currently no treatment for functional abdominal pain from the general practitioner. The GP provides information and reassurance that nothing bad is wrong. For many children, however, this is not enough, because almost half of the children still have stomach pains after 1 year.

Hypnotherapy as home treatment
When people think of hypnosis, people often think of a man with a clock, but this is show hypnosis and is not used in medical hypnosis. Medical hypnosis can be compared to daydreaming with a goal, examples of goals are a calm stomach and a good night’s sleep. In hospitals, hypnotherapy is increasingly being used as a treatment for functional abdominal pain. Research from the hospital shows that hypnotherapy as a home treatment reduced abdominal pain in 75% of the children. The children went to school more, had a better quality of life and had to visit the doctor less often. This treatment consists of 5 listening exercises that are recorded by a hypnotherapist. It has not yet been investigated whether hypnotherapy works in children who visit the general practitioner. It is important to investigate this because hypnotherapy can be used earlier, which can lead to a better course of the abdominal pain and fewer referrals to the hospital.

Does Hypnotherapy Reduce Abdominal Pain?
In this study, children aged 7 to 17 years are randomly divided into 2 groups: One group receives care from the general practitioner, the other group receives care from the general practitioner and hypnotherapy as home treatment. The researchers compare the groups and can then see if hypnotherapy reduces abdominal pain. The researchers also look at other aspects such as quality of life, anxiety and depression, and healthcare costs. 200 children are needed as participants, and the study will take another 2 years. The first results of the study are expected in early 2025.

Register participants
Children between the ages of 7 and 17 with long-lasting abdominal pain can apply for this examination. More information about the research can be found on this website.

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Can hypnotherapy help children with long-term stomach pain?
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