Bespoke web or phone-based psychological therapy should be offered to people with severe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), researchers say.
Their work, published in the journal Gut, shows cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could reduce symptoms – even when not delivered face-to-face.
England’s health watchdog already recommends face-to-face CBT for people who have IBS, despite other treatment.
But researchers say many people are unable to access it.
Irritable bowel syndrome is a common and often life-long condition that affects the bowels – it can cause stomach cramps, bloating, diarrhoea and constipation.
There’s no cure, but changes to diet and medicines can help control the symptoms.
The team of scientists from the University of Southampton and King’s College London, say their newly designed phone and web-based CBT requires fewer therapist hours and could be offered more widely to people who need it.