Visceral Hypersensitivity Syndrome

Are your bowels oversensitive?

Picture showing a body outline with red sensitive bowels.

Do you have pain in your bowels with no apparent cause? That could be from visceral hypersensitivity syndrome.
© Can Stock Photo

For the last few years there has been a lot of discussion about yet another possible cause of IBS symptoms.

It’s called visceral hypersensitivity  or visceral hypersensitivity syndrome, and it’s part of something called “functional gastrointestinal disorders.”

Whew! I try to keep things readable around here, but it looks like I’ll be slinging around some tough terms in this one.

Let’s get to it, shall we?



So what is visceral hypersensitivity syndrome?

First of all, viscera means the internal organs in the main part of the body, especially those in the abdomen, like your intestines.

Having hypersensitive viscera means that you are experiencing much more pain than would be expected, for the amount of stimulation.

Your bowels are basically screaming pain signals to your brain.

I’ve read where people compare this pain signal to a radio with the volume turned up too loud.

What causes visceral hypersensitivity syndrome?

There is a theory that damage to the lining or nerves of the intestines (or bowels) changes how they react to stimulation. The proverbial “raw nerve” might be one way to think of it.

This seems to happen after some kind of gastroenteritis (stomach flu) or similar bowel illness.

Then the the pain and other IBS symptoms (responses to  visceral hypersensitivity) just never seem to go away.

There are a number of illnesses that seem to have this in common.

Another study determined that people with visceral sensitivity issues had more pain receptors to hot peppers or spicy foods in their bowels.

Visceral hypersensitivity may be related to other illnesses.


Small bowel changes can cause BIG PAIN for people with visceral hypersensitivity syndrome.
© Can Stock Photo

Some people don’t have the chronic constipation or chronic diarrhea of IBS. They do have the abdominal pain when their bowels move though.

One name for this is “chronic functional abdominal pain.”

Are there tests for visceral hypersensitivity syndrome?

There is one that I know of, though it’s a bit awkward to describe.

What they do is they slide an inflatable tube up your rectum and inflate it until you start to complain of pain. I would think that would be as soon as they started sliding the tube!

But seriously, people with visceral hypersensitivity and IBS experience much more pain at less inflation rates than people without these disorders.

Interestingly, people with these syndromes often have a higher than normal tolerance to external pain (so we’re not wimps ;).

Is there a cure for visceral hypersensitivity syndrome?

The medical world doesn’t seem ready to fully agree that visceral hypersensitivity syndrome even exists. There are many doctor’s that doubt it is real, despite some seemingly convincing evidence.

Of course many doctor’s don’t believe in IBS either.

What this all means is, there hasn’t been a lot of movement toward a cure for visceral hypersensitivity syndrome… Except perhaps for a surprise one:

Hypnosis and visceral hypersensitivity:

Picture of spirals and a comfortable, hypnotized woman.

Hypnosis has been shown to help bowel troubles like visceral hypersensitivity syndrome!
© Can Stock Photo

There have been interesting studies in Great Britain. Somehow,there is a major connection between the bowels and the brain. Here is why I say that.

People who received hypnosis treatments, had relief from IBS symptoms for up to 5 years! Hypnosis has proven to be effective against both IBS-D and IBS-C (diarrhea and constipation, in other words).

What else can you do about visceral hypersensitivity?

First of all I think you should avoid foods  that give you gas. No use inflating YOURSELF!

Also reducing stress and anxiety should help keep your guts from grumbling.

Avoiding spicy foods should help if you have extra pain receptors to spicy foods.

Avoiding foods that you are sensitive to, should help as well, since this should cut down on the cramping and diarrhea or constipation of IBS.

Find out more about what causes IBS here.


  1. Reply

    I too suffered from this and had to have a 2nd opinion in order to cure it. My great doctor put me on Lexapro low dose seratonin. There is a natural occuring seratonin in the gut and this low dose replaces what might be lost. Within 3 days I was without pain and feeling great. I continue to take it daily and have not had it reoccur in two years. I highly recommend it. My Dr. said 75% of his patients have a dramatic result from it.

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    The drug pamalor has been working wonders for many people and also me , I’ve been suffering from this disease for 30 years and was put on pamalor 6 months ago and have had a 90% improvement. Look into this drug.

    • Reply

      Tom, may I ask how much Pamelor you take in order for it to be effective? Also does it make you tired? Thanks

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    It’s always difficult for me to read/participate in online & group support discussions because I have a “split-personality” response – it has never been a “comfort” for me to know that there are others who suffer as much or more than myself. It’s depressing and creates feelings of frustration and anger because after years of research through clinical research journals, verifiable articles/documentation of the negligent – incompetent – criminal histories to current betrayals of Pharmaceuctical Companies, the FDA, all three branches of our government, the sociopathic business models of our few remaining food industries, the pervasive toxic saturation of every aspect of our living environments (from commonly known “pollution” to the insideous nature of “stealth poisons” such as BPA’s, Sugars, GMO’s, Teflon’s C-8 & its even worse replacements, preservatives/additives, petroleum derivatives, arsenic, dioxins, mercury, lead, etc, etc to be found in everything from our foods, clothes, cleaners, toothpaste, shampoo, skin creams, drywall – wood – carpeting – and paints in our homes and where we work, (and even in the medications we’re given – and constantly advertised about to with the fine print that they don’t know how or why it works but the side effects are worse than the illness we’re taking them for), to the total loss of natural nutrients in farm soils that require us to use artificial fertilizers & genetically (patented) manipulated seeds to give the mostly corn and soy we grow any chance of survival in combination with NOW UNBANNED toxic pesticides just to produce vegetables, fruits, and livestock feed with little to no nutritional value (to grow animals that have to be given artifical supplements or post-processed vitamin additives to be able to print anything but Zero’s on the “Nutritional Labels” at all – not to mention the criminal lack of monitoring and cover-ups for diseases like “Mad Cow,” and we wonder why we ourselves and our children all seem to have these inexplicable, degenerative diseases – or we have to go through so much effort and take so many more drugs just to have children – and the lifetimes of tragedy they must endure from birth because of the epidemic of defects that have been brought upon them, all and more that we have arrived at a place where the concerns of a changing global climate are becoming of little concern compared to the compounding tortures inflicted by our poison saturated daily lives that we spend all our time, money and sanity going from uncompassionate, incompetent, and – until there is a chargable Insurance Code to match that provokes them to finally see a means to pay for some desire that our mere suffering did not incite, they make us dependent upon some new poison that requires even more poisons to tolerate – whatever it takes to keep us “alive” and returning as their disease managed ATM machines. BUT, aside from all that – :{ lol – for ALL OF YOU who have posted previously, first and foremost I BEG you to investigate your DRINKING WATER!!! The overweighted Balance of Probability is that your water – or whatever beverage you most often drink – is tainted biologically, chemically, or at the very least has a ph level that is the equivilant of drinking Acid Rain. I am neither joking nor exaggerating. I personally suffer from Multiple Sclerosis (60+ Lesions), Fibromyalgia, Degenerative OsteoArthritis, Chronic Anxiety – Depression – Panic Attacks, Spinal Stenosis, Diverticulosis, IBS-D & C, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Severe Sleep Apnea & seven plus years of insomnia, Chronic Fatigue, Recently Rapid Onset Cognitive Decline, Periodontal Disease after having already lost over ten teeth in just the last five years, developing vision impairment, Chronic Hi Blood Pressure & Cholesterol, Migraine, Over-Active Uncontrollable Bladder, Acid Reflux, Multiple Pinched Nerves causing a daily parade of random neuropathy, Tri-Geminal Neuralgia (the Suicide Disease), chronic weakness and disabiling pain in my low back – hips – legs and feet, and after (still) suffering from two chemo treatments of Lemtrada after years of being tortured by monthly Tysabri infusions, and the betrayals of my soon to be ex-wife and her sociopathic now adult children (along with the loss of a step-grandson, who was my last proof of God in this world), I have only recently discovered (by chance & wholly on my own) that the so-called “purified” drinking water I have faithfully consumed at least a gallon of each day, was typically purified by Reverse Osmosis, sometimes Distilled, Micron Filtrated, and even Decontaminated with UltraViolet Light and Ozonated. Any and all of which left the water DEAD (no nutrients or trace minerals neccesary for life or basic metabolic function – and also will suck what minerals you do have in your bones and joints and organs right out causing bone & joint weakness – arthritis, organ failure, acid reflux, leaky gut, massive dehydration, brain damage, tooth decay, neuropathy of all kinds, unbearable gastro-intestinal issues & diseases, AND typically makes the water very much in the ph range of ACID RAIN (now imagine what drinking that for almost a decade would do to your body – plus, most other beverages you might buy, unless it says otherwise, are made with Dead water) – when it should be highly Alkaline, promoting Antioxidation, and chok-full-o-nutrients & minerals. I have only recently started using a liquid, zero-sodium, micronutrient supplement in my water, a liquid ph balancer, and occaisionally a pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt to cover all of my bases. Within a mere two days my energy and sense of well being/emotional outlook have dramatically improved, my mind is clearing, and my Arthritis/Pain has already decreased. You’ll also need some Ph Strips or Litmus Paper to test your beverages, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to add a pinch of Pink Sea Salt to appropriate foods. So, to finally sum up – don’t trust your doctors or the poisons they prescribe, prepare your life for the worst in terms of relationships – location – and planning ahead that you can do before it’s too late (and some lonely soul killing night you will finally realize that it is too late), and become your own advocate – have medical agendas, write everything down – even take a digital recorder into doctor appointments and every time you call their office – let them know you’re recording – but DO IT, always ask for copies of every new record and never be shy to correct them – if they can’t handle it then they’re the wrong people to handle you. But most of all – learn to help yourself, cause that’s when God starts helping, too.

  4. Reply

    pain after every bowel movement,in pain,doubled up 8hoursdaily on oramorph ,not working ,all tests clear! not living just existing any advice most welcome please

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      I am much like you. I have tried everything. with no results. There is ref on this site that refers to a children’s hospital rec. bowel cleansing once a month I do this but do it every 7-10 days. This seems to help. Treatment of drinking water may help. See above note. For micronutrient and ph balancer for your drink water. Check your drink water with a pool kit. Minevwater had ideal amount of chlorine for pool water. Basically I was drinking pool water. I have filter behind the fridge and use the one in fridge this removes the chlorine. Have not check ph but it should be alkaline. I have seen 3 gastroenterologist one was at Washington university. St. Louis. Visit wasbcomplete waste of time. He told me to stop pain meds. I asked did he see my pain score of 9 on scale of 10. He said we will manage pain with something else. Gave me 30 day supply of Cynbalta. No refill andbtold me to come back 3 months. Total lack of empathy for pain I was having. I am now on percocet. The Cynbalta has minor relieve. I walk around with pain 5-6 with percocet. Good luck

      • Reply

        Hi, I went to Mayo Clinic cause Doctors and hospitals in n.c. could not figure out whatwhy i had severe pain if I ate anything or even had a few sips if water.I was down to 75 pounds. Anyway Mayo Clinic ran several tests on me and diagnosed me with visceral hypersensitivity,they put me on 30 mg. Of imipramine and it helped a lot for the remains pain I go to a nourologist for injections in my spine every month. The injections are in my spine which control pain in the stomach. I gained my weight back and am able to function. I hope this helps.

        • Reply

          Hi Lauri. Just wondered if you wouldn’t mind me asking you a quick question about the pain relieving injections you have in your spine. My best friend has extremely severe Visceral Hypersensitivity & neuropathic pain in her small bowel and is desperate for some form of relief from the pain. She’s tried every treatment going with no success so she’s very keen to find out more about your pain killing injections. She’s been told by doctors in the U.K. that there aren’t any pain killing/nerve block injections that will help with the Visceral Hypersensitivity & neuropathic pain in her bowel, yet you’ve obviously found an injection that helps you. I just wondered if you could give me some more details of the type of injection you have i.e. who administers it, what drug is used, how effective it is etc. I would be so grateful if you let me know any details, or just send me a link to a pertinent website so I can investigate the pain killing injections myself. Many thanks in advance. Hope you’re doing ok today.

        • Reply

          I would also be very interested to hear about the injections. My daughter has terrible pain and I have taken her to several (3) different hospitals for consult and no one can help her. Which Mayo clinic did you go to? And who is your Neurologist? Any answers would be greatly appreciated!

      • Reply

        Hi all,

        A month ago I was just like you. I’d been like you for three years straight. After researching for 3 years I found that you can treat this pain with Tricyclic antidepressants & SSRI. Both medications are for depression but given at a different and lower dose it seems to block the nerve pain signals. Doctors have no idea why but it’s worth a shot. Within two weeks I was able to leave my house. That is after 3 years. Plus, these medications are not invasive like the Fentynal patch I had been on for 3 years and I am no longer.

        Good luck and I hope this helps someone!
        It changed my life.

    • Reply

      I have the exact same problem I had a stomach bug 3 years ago and got stomach pains ever since, I’m always in pain especially at night but also randomly at school or in bed I get pain even when I haven’t been eating and we’ve been looking for answers and doctors don’t know what’s wrong with me currently I have an anxiety disorder (which doesn’t help) but I feel like I have this as well so thank you whoever wrote this article :)

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  6. Reply

    My daughter is 12 and has been dealing with severe abdominal cramping since she was a small baby. She was diagnosed with IBS and chronic retention issues when she was 4 and we’ve done the gamut – Miralax, Exlax, small dose anti-depressants, meditation… nothing seemed to work (we were just chasing symptoms hoping she’d outgrow it).

    She was finally seen by Children’s Hospital in DC this past summer and did the balloon test and a whole host of other tests and had sensors put in her colon that measured contractions (colonic monametry). They had us keep a pain diary and then forced her body into digestion mode (ranging from normal digestion to something similar to an IBS attack). The specialist said you could equate each digestive contraction to a higher than normal level of pain. Basically, her body is registering digestion as pain, the stronger the digestion, the stronger the pain. She also has slow moving IBS, which causes constipation and impaction. Her triggers are high fat foods, fried foods, exercise, and stress. I’ve put her on a “gall bladder” diet, but she cheats sometimes (the girl loves soft serve ice cream and when with friends at parties, she wants the birthday cake, even knowing the Crisco based frosting will cause and attack), then pays the price. She also has to take two capfuls of Miralax a day, do a monthly colon cleansing (5 caps of Miralax a day for two days, and 2 squares of Exlax before bed on the 2nd night and two squares as soon as she wakes up on the morning of the 3d day). This summer, after the testing with Children’s, she started taking Linzess 30 minutes before breakfast and 30 minutes before dinner.

    While the Linzess, daily Miralax and monthly cleansings have yet to cure her condition (I don’t think there is a cure, but we still hope she outgrows it), as she is getting older I’m making her more responsible for her actions (she has to have the will power to say, “No, I can’t eat that cupcake because the frosting will make me ill”), and I have found some “go to” places where we can go out to eat (Subway, Olive Garden, Sweet Frog…). She plays soccer (then deals with stomach cramps later that evening if she runs too hard), earned her black belt in Tae Kwon Do, is now taking up volleyball… Basically she is a happy, outgoing kid who isn’t letting her pain rule her life. We’ve done the whole “stay home because it hurts” but have found for my child, distraction is the key.

    We try to schedule sleep overs during cleansing weekends with friends who are in the “know” and can deal with her spending extra time in bathroom, sometimes very bad gas, and sometimes crying fits because it hurts, and it really seems to help her get through these painful sessions. We also have to get creative about when we do the cleansings, so it impacts her life as little as possible. She goes to school even if she has an episode (always after 1 a.m. and last for several hours), but we let the school nurse know she will most likely be getting a visit. She has a special hall pass to get her to the nurses office or bathroom whenever she needs it, not just during class transitions. She does PE with the rest of the class, and has to meet the same standards, but if it starts to really adversely affect her, I feel confident the school will work with her. Having a good relationship with the school, letting her teachers know what is going on… have all allowed her to excel in school, despite her condition.

    So there is hope if you have a young child with this condition. There is no one answer, and my experiences might not work with your child. Work with a good doctor (or team of doctors, as I have done), communicate with your school, let your child’s coaches know what is going on (not for special treatment, but so they can watch for signs of dehydration or over exertion), put your child in charge of their protocols as much as possible, and keep them involved in life outside the home. Having good friends seems to be the best thing for my child. Especially as she is overweight because her metabolism is all messed up and she is now a tweener and kids can be cruel. Also don’t rule out counseling. Since stress is an issue, having someone to talk to and help her deal with stress is a big deal. Good luck and if anyone hears of a cure, please post it, chronic pain is “not in your head” and to get rid of it during my child’s lifetime would be a miracle and a blessing!

    • Reply

      Thank you for your post. My 9 year-old son is at the beginning of this problem. It started in January 2018 for us. I am going to try to follow what you did for your daughter, after talking with his doctors of course. He has not been in school since, but we believe he is ready to go back next week. Thank you so much for this post. You might not see this, because it’s been 2 years since you post. But I want to thank you. This post gives me hope.

  7. Reply


    I have IBS – D. I manage it with diet. I wanted to know if homeopathy has a cure for this?


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    I just found this site and am grateful I did. I have been suffering almost 2 years with abdominal pain and some nausea. The nausea was pretty bad at first, but I was also dealing with vertigo at the time and attributed the nausea to that. I’ve had lower abdominal pain on and off for years but not consistently. Then the pain, feeling of fullness, bloating , lack of appetite, and trouble swallowing became regular. Most every day I feel horrible. Due to lack of appetite i have lost 75 pounds i was overweight but this is
    ridiculous. I have had test after test, all normal of course.
    I was even scheduled to have my gallbladder out but thankfully I canceled the surgery. The chronic pain however began after I hsd a hysterectomy. I also have an undifferentiated connective tissue disorder. Now I was just told I have visceral hypersensitivity. I feel like the doctors don’t know what is wrong so they just tell you that you have VF. I also feel like the doctors think you’re crazy if you have VF. I have been prescribed Buspirone. It is an antidepressant. I haven’t seen anyone else prescribed this. Does anyone else take this med for VF and if so has it been successful?

  9. Reply

    Hi everyone, I found this article trawling through the internet trying to find information and possible help for my 14 year old son.

    He has been in pain for just over 2 years now and life has been so frustrating for us all but especially him having to live it daily. He started with pain after some sort of bug that he had which had him have a splitting headache and then vomit. He felt fine after vomiting but it seems to have triggered something in the viscera. The pain started slowly but by about the fifth day we were at the doctors and started on the long road of tests. This is the only thing that we can link to why this might have all started. They queried all sorts of things at the time like appendicitis, adenitis and of course after going to the Emergency Room a few times ‘all in his head”! A normal day the pain is around 5/6 on his scale and can ease off mid afternoon to about a 4/5 and then back up again in the mid evening and can go up to 6/7 sometimes he can’t get to sleep and then it wakes him in the night. He can’t concentrate at school as the pain gets too much for him.

    He, like others on this site has had lots of different tests that have shown nothing. (MRI CT X-ray ultrasound) We have also tried a Naturopath and exclusion diets, hypnotherapy, psychologist and a gastroenterologist. The gastro doc diagnosed IBS but did also explain about the nerve problem although didn’t call it visceral hypersensitivity. The only thing that gives him relief is acupuncture. He may get a few hours of pain relief from it or half a day if he’s lucky. He has had the following prescribed, Endep (amartyptaline) which wasn’t very successful and now Lyrica (pregabalin) sorry if they are spelt wrong!! The lyrica seemed to be working for a few weeks and then it all started again and an increased dose has not helped. Everything takes so long and no one really seems concerned about trying to get something sorted, I think it’s in the too hard/unusual pile?

    He has missed such a lot of school and is now repeating year 8 again. I just wish we could find something that helps allow him to lead a more normal life so that he can get back to school and his friends and normal teenage life.

    Reading this article makes me feel relieved that actually others have experienced the same and that we are not crazy but also very sad for the future that no-one has much light at the end of the tunnel. I really worry about his long term future in terms of school and later managing to hold a job if this is something that he will always have.

    I think we will go back to our gastroenterologist and see what he has to say. I wish everyone luck, improvement and better health. If anything works for us in the future I’ll post and keep looking in to see if anyone else gets a eureka moment. I’m also keen to look at the boswelia that was mentioned as another thing to try????

    • Reply

      Did they ever figure anything out with your son? We are currently having similar issues with our son.

      • Reply

        I am in the same boat with my 15 year old daughter: Xrays, ultrasounds, upper GI, endoscopy, biopsies, blood work– no root cause has been found- only a diagnosis of visceral hyperalgesia. She has been on 400mg Gabapentin for two weeks now and no significant relief.

  10. Reply

    Hi. Ive had stomach problem all my life starting with a case of drinking bad water and getting sick on it. I was heavy as a child, had my galbladder removed at 14 because it s 9% functioning and all sludgy, and I have gotten past an eating disorder and phobia of vomiting. I have been diagnosed with reflux, ibs and now visceral hypersensitivity. They put me on desipramine 10mg but i am having a flare up right now. It is making me feel like life sucks. I gained 5-7lbs in the last two weeks, I am so bloated I look and feel like I’m pregnant, my pain is bad, im tired and depressed from it, and I feel like I’m never going to get into tip top shape for my wedding at this point. What should I do?

    • Reply

      You have been on a hard road Alena. I can’t tell you what to do, I can only tell you what I think. Desipramine, as you know, is an antidepressant. A really old one. I wonder why the doc would put you on such an old medication when there are many newer and seemingly better meds. You may want to ask. It’s certainly possible that it fits your symptoms better than other things.

      Mental anguish, anxiety, depression, etc. can often lead to problems with the digestive tract. There is also something called mitral valve prolapse syndrome, which is a group of symptoms that can affect GERD, stomach and IBS symptoms. It’s controversial though.

      As far as what to do, what “I” would do, is try to be careful of how much I eat at each meal, and only eat what would fit in my cupped hands for one meal. Many people say this is about the size of the stomach, and can make digestion easier. The other thing I would try is a food elimination diet to see if it helps your symptoms settle down for now. Just my thoughts on the matter. Here is some info I put together on a Food Elimination Diet.

  11. Reply

    I also applaud this site. I DID cry when I found this information. I have been suffering with abdominal pain for over 10 years. Only one doctor said that I had ‘hypersensitive nerve endings’ in my stomach but no one else seemed to get that. I had many pointless tests that made me feel more depressed when they came out ‘normal’. This is far from normal. This information is such a huge relief and it fits perfectly where the other 800 things I’ve looked up never matched my symptoms. There is an old movie where a guy finally gets the answer he knew was true but no one else believed and he throws his hands up in the air and yells “VINDICATED!”- that is me in the female version right now. Thank you Jesus for this gift of information. Help me to be grateful in my suffering as it reminds me to pray. Your site is that answer to prayer. Thank you, too! We appreciate you!

    • Reply

      I am deeply moved by your message, Jo Lisa. I really needed to hear it today. I pray you find help now that you have some clues!


  12. Reply

    Hi Shawn, I have been suffering from Visceral Hypersensitivity for three years now. I do have IBS-C, and the pain started when I was at the tail end of pre menopause and moving into menopause, and continued to get worse as my hormones dropped. After having a hysterectomy, the pain was full blown, including all of my organs and the muscle wall of my chest. Even my hearing is more acute. I have seen 12 doctors here in Canada so far – none have heard of this, nor do they want to. I have read a couple of articles on the internet that state that V.H. is linked to women whom have IBS and are going through menopause. I am seeing an Endocrinologist, but he hasn’t heard of it either. He has me on the regular hormone therapy and it does help a bit, but there are other hormones involved. He, as well, doesn’t want to put any effort into researching this. I don’t want to take the low dose antidepressants due to the nasty side effects. Do you know of any Endocrinologists in the USA that do treat for V.H.? I am willing to travel, just to get this figured out.

    • Reply

      I’m sorry to learn that you are struggling Martine. The U.S. is huge. I wouldn’t know where to start to point you. I don’t have any personal good experience with an endocrinologist. Here is what I would do in your shoes. I’d find an Osteopath (An O.D. instead of an M.D.)in your area. I’ve had very good luck with these doctors. The 2 I’ve seen have a more holistic approach to health. They both looked at me as a whole person, not an assortment of unrelated parts. If that doesn’t pan out, I’d definitely try acupuncture first, then a naturopathic doctor. If you can’t get these services near you, then you may have to travel. I’ve had excellent results for several problems from an acupuncturist. A acupuncturist helped me figure out some things when western medicine had given up. My problem with an endocrinologist, is that’s only looking at one piece of the puzzle. It COULD be your answer, but I would try these other’s first. GOOD LUCK!

  13. Reply

    My 12yr old son Dx w/visceral hyperanalgesia after 2.5yrs of every lab test,X-ray,CT,endoscopy/colonoscopy…the works. This has been the worst thing to ever happen to our family-to see our son suffering in pain. On a med disability plan for school,can’t hardly eat,suffering in pain everyday. Has developed anxiety/depression as result. Been on Neurontin,Elavil,[email protected] least 10 other meds & NOTHING helped. Not even acupuncture. Read about Boswellia Serrata for intestinal inflammation-even though my son has never shown to have any inflammation with biopsies etc. Started him on 750mg 3X/day & within 10 days-his pain is HUGELY improved!! Now,going on 14 days & still doing great. Still having pain,but says it’s only a “2” on the pain scale,when before it was a “7 or 8” most days. He’s back to playing,laughing,being silly,eating. I don’t know how long this will last,but I am 100% sure the boswellia is the reason for the relief!

    • Reply

      I am SO HAPPY you found a solution! Thanks for sharing it here so that someone else may get help.

      • Reply

        Hi my 13 year old daughter has been in hospital for 5 months now severe abdominal pain she is now nj fed as she can’t eat or drink as she brings up mouthfuls to the extent she was so under weight all tests normal with no phycological cause I am sick of doctors not doing enough or should I say quicker she is still waiting to see a specialist in Birmingham as we are in n Ireland doctors here doesn’t know much on this visceral hypersensitivity even though I think she fits it what do you think

        • Reply

          Could you recommend a specialist doctor in America who could see her thanks at my wits end here

          • I’m sorry Lisa, I don’t have enough experience with different doctors. There are many thousands. I CAN say that Boston has some of the best doctors in the world (in many people’s opinion).I would recommend you search the many online sources that rate doctors. This is really tragic, and I wish I knew how to be more help.

          • There is a awesome GI doctor in Boston, MA. His name is Dr. Braeden Kuo. He works out of mass general hospital in Boston MA

        • Reply

          This must be an agony for all of you Lisa. When you say she brings up mouthfuls, I don’t know what you mean. From what I know of it though, this sounds MUCH more complicated that visceral hypersensitivity syndrome.

    • Reply

      I read the post by Alex on Boswellia Serrata (Feb 9, 2014) — for his 12 yrs old son.
      Our son who is 12 yrs ago also – has the same illness (Visceral Hypersensitivy and Gastroparisis) – our son now has an NJ tube (from nose to jejunum) and has been on Neurontin and Amitryptiline / Elevil) . He has had all sort of testing and all sorts of meds and natural meds but nothing helps.
      My wife and I are REALLY INTERESTED to find out more about Boswellia Serrata .
      Please inform me the BEST BRAND of the Boswellia Serrata – as not all brands are alike.

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    Hello, I’ve been diagnosed with visceral hypersensitivity of the gut, but I have pain in the stomach and chest, with a lot of nausea, but not really many IBS symtoms, am I the only one in here that has that particular situation?

    • Reply

      In case no one else chimes in right away, I want to give my 2 cents. I’ve read that people with IBS often have GERD, AKA acid reflux. The esophagus, the stomach, and the bowels all work with some kind of peristalsis or other contractions. The esophagus goes from the throat through the chest, to the stomach (chest pain), the stomach squooshes the food back and forth (technical I know ;)) , then it moves into the bowels. I wonder if maybe you have some kind of sensitivity to this whole process. Just a thought from a non-medical person. I hope you get some answers, here or somewhere, that help you Jeremy. – Shawn

  15. Reply

    When you say hypnosis…do you mean any sort that brings about relaxation or addressing the nerve endings that are causing the problem? I have Visceral Hypersensitivity and my hypnotist got me to address my nerve endings as objects that I can talk to and ask them what they want and I can ask them to calm down. Hasn’t worked yet, but we’re working on it. I have Visceral Hypersensitivity that translates as bad nausea…every day. It is NO fun. My life is altered forever if this never goes away. Thanks for this website. I’ve had a hard time finding support online for this terrible condition.

    • Reply

      Hello Susan, I haven’t seen a hypnotist for this condition, though I have used it for other things.

      I’d like to point you to a few resources. There is link to a study (probably boring, welcome to my world) about IBS that includes hypnosis and visceral hypersensitivity
      . There are others like it, confirming that many people with IBS and/or visceral hypersensitivity can be helped by hypnosis.

      Here is a great page from Barbara Bolen at – Hypnosis (Hypnotherapy) for IBS. At the bottom of the page she has a link about finding a hypnotherapist. Maybe you need a different one.

      On that same page she has a link to a CD set that you can use at home. Barbara seems impressed by it. I haven’t used it myself.

      I hope the information you find here and at these links, helps you find your way to a better life!


  16. Reply

    My daughter has been suffering with this for six years now. However, she feels all of her organs working and it transmit as pain to her brain. Her GI doctor, whom we were very lucky to find after numerous trips to the ER and other doctors who told us she was faking, diagnosed her with this. She prescribed Levsin and recimmended she also consultant with a psychiatrist. He put her on Trileptal. Both of these help her to cope but the pain is always there. It seemed that puberty brought it on much stronger than when she was younger. The doc said she has always had it. I pray to God to take her pain away. As her mother, i would gladly take her pain, as long as she would be pain-free.

    • Reply

      RH, that sounds horrible for both of you. I’ve read about acupuncture or hypnosis helping with reducing pain signals. I’ve had acupuncture myself for a really bad back condition. It was astonishing how well it worked. I wan’t a believer. Now I am. Hypnosis has a history of helping with visceral hypersensitivity, and I wonder if it would help with this. I pray that something works for your daughter.


  17. Reply

    Thanks for that Shawn, I do tend to react badly to stress, particular emotional stress i.e family issues etc. I will let you know what I try and what the results are.

  18. Reply

    I have Crohn’s disease and am at the moment having a “flare up”. I underwent right hemicolectomy 4 years ago for obstruction. However, i recently had yet another colonoscopy and my Consultant diagnosed visceral hypersensitivity too. Is there a treatment that you can recommend?

    • Reply

      I can’t recommend. I can only pass along. I’m not a doctor, but I WOULD like to help. Here’s what I’ve read and what I just looked up. There is a HUGE linke between the brain and the gut. Some people have tried “cognitive behavioral therapy” which is a form of mental health treatment. It helps to change the way a person reacts to things (i.e. helping to reduce stress).

      Another thing that I’ve read helps with this kind of pain is hypnosis.

      On the drug side, there are things your doc may recommend. One thing that seems to help people is a very low dose of some older anti-depressants. I think this makes sense since the gut uses a lot of the same chemicals as the brain, (serotonin, etc.).

      There are a few ideas. I hope this or something else gets you feeling better!!! – let us know what helps please. – Shawn

  19. Reply

    I have been doing a great amount of home grown research on line due to my neice’s son’s condition. I am amazed by how many site have overlapping issues. On this note I would recommend that some might be helped by seeking a doctor to investigate MCAS/D. Mast cell activation syndrome/disorder sounds like a very possble link to some posts here. Wishing you all best health.

    • Reply

      I’ve never heard of this. Thanks Rosie!

  20. Reply

    abdominal pain can be caused by a lot of stuffs. proper evaluation by a doctor is necessary. ;

    Most current article content on our personal blog site

  21. Reply

    Jeremy, I would like to know who your doctor’s are. My daughter has suffered for years. Winds up in ER multiple times a year and is treated like a drug seeker. She finally was admitted due to high liver enzyme panel. They inserted stint and clipped muscles in esophageal area to prevent spasms. She was discharged next day but within 24 hours returned to hospital with several abdominal and chest pain. More bloodword was done and another CT scan. The Gastro doctor told her everything was fine and he could not keep her in hospital. He said she had visceral hypersensitivity, but he did not do the test I have seen described on this and other sites. He also did not give her a clue about how to manage the pain or whether there was anything to be done. She is hurting, crying, and frustrated. She feels like she is worthless because she continues to have these episodes and remains in pain with no help from doctors. If anybody knows of anyone who can help, I would love to have their name.

  22. Reply

    Great site!
    Have you heard of people having this pain only in one spot, and not all over? Mine mimics a gall bladder attack, but I’ve had hida scans and ultrasound, all negative. The pain is like a knife.

    • Reply

      THANKS Lynda! – Yes, I’ve heard of it. That’s how it hits me. Lower left abdominal pain that the docs can’t explain.

  23. Reply

    i can’t stop crying, this made me feel like I am not the only one!!!! everything you wrote is my daily life and I am just so happy to read all of this! thank you thank you! i have been seeing a therapist for months now, who is working with my GI. I’ve been sick for year, after my selemela poisoning a year and a half ago everything has been worse, I have IBS, crohn’s, gastritis, ulcers, hernia’s in my stomach and now visceral hypersensitivity, its just so much to deal with, but reading this helped me! this is a real diagnosis its not in my head as some OLDER GI doctors have told me, thank you thank you

    • Reply

      It sounds like you’ve had a miserable time Suzanne! I’m glad something I wrote made you feel better. I hope you find an answer to this misery soon. It sounds horrible. – Shawn

    • Reply

      This might not be applicable, but I suffer from lots of the same things and have had to deal with many hernias. I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome type 3. If you have stretchy joints, or skin, this might be the underlying condition for your symptoms. This disorder is horribly under diagnosed and most people with EDS suffer from many misdiagnosis before the get the EDS diagnosis.

      • Reply

        Wow. I’ve never heard of that. Thanks for the tip, Chris. I hope it helps someone find their answer. – Shawn

  24. Reply

    Shawn, All this makes sense to me, my son has been diagnosed – he is 12 And it has been going on now for 2 years now after lots of tests. He lost 21lb in weight and his attendance at school went down to 30%. his trigger is physical exercise, carrying heavy items or exertion. He is taking low dose anti-depressants for the pain (signal Blockers). So far so good but we’re unsure of the future. One day at a time. Just wanted to say Thank you for the info and putting it in simple terms :0)

    • Reply

      Oh my gosh! There is nothing like watching your child go through that kind of thing. I hope the “so far so good” goes to “so far, GREAT!” Thanks als for the kind words. – Shawn

    • Reply

      Hello. My daughter is now 9 years old and she has been dealing with chronic pain for 2 years. She gets pain everytime she eats, leaving it impossible to finish her food. A doctor said she has Visceral Hyperalgesia. My poor daughter has went from a happy, healthy girl to a depressed victim of pain. Her only wish in the world is that she can eat a meal without having pain. We’ve seen so many doctors, went through so many medications. It’s a nerve problem in her stomach and nothing is helping her. Any advice from anyone would help!!!

      • Reply

        Alice, there are few agonies worse than having a sick child and feeling helpless. I’ve had that short term but never anything like 2 years. I can’t imagine what you all are going through.

        The things I’m about to say are my opinion, and not medical advice. But I’m kind of desperate to pass along anything that might point you toward some help.

        You say it’s a nerve in her stomach, Since you’re commenting on the viceral hypersensitivity page, I’m guessing stomach means abdomen/bowels. If it really is a stomach problem, the following may be less useful.

        If your regular doctor can’t do anything but put a name to the problem, I think you need to look to other sources. Other people have made a lot of helpful comments on this site. Here are a some things that they say have helped.

        These are not in any particular order, some of them may seem far fetched, but have studies, or at least stories to back them up.

        A naturopathic doctor. These doctors deal with the body’s natural function, and use herbs, foods, and changes in diet to help the body heal itself.

        An allergist. One woman had nothing but trouble until she went to a korean doctor who also was an allergist. She found foods that were causing her a lot of trouble. I’ve heard a lot of stories like this.

        A hypnotherapist that specializes in IBS and/or pain control. There are some studies and great success stories from England of IBS being cured by hypnosis. Other people have used it for all kinds of help with pain. Even if it doesn’t fix everything it may help.

        An acupuncturist. Some people think acupuncture is not real. I promise you that it is. I had a chronic back issue (muscle problems) when I was about 22. Neither an MD, nor a year of chiropractic (3 times a week), could help. An acupuncturist fixed in 5 visits. If you can find one, I strongly recommend going to a person who studied at the New England School of Acupuncture.

        A food elimination diet can be a huge help for some. There are a few ways to do that. One way is to stop eating the most common problem foods, then adding them back one at a time too see if there is a pattern. Many of the practitioners listed above can help with that.

        I earnestly hope that something here or elsewhere helps your poor daughter. Please let us know if you find something that helps!

        BEST OF LUCK! – Shawn

      • Reply

        Hi Alice,

        As you know so well, there are few agonies worse than having a sick child and feeling helpless. I’ve had that short term, but never anything like 2 years. I can’t imagine what you all are going through.

        The things I’m about to say are my opinion, and not medical advice. But I’m kind of desperate to pass along anything that might point you toward some help.

        You say it’s a nerve in her stomach, Since you’re commenting on the visceral hypersensitivity page, I’m guessing stomach means abdomen/bowels. If it really is a stomach problem, the following may be less useful.

        If your regular doctor can’t do anything but put a name to the problem, I think you need to look to other sources. Other people have made a lot of helpful comments on this site. Here are a some things that they say have helped.

        These are not in any particular order, some of them may seem far fetched, but have studies, or at least stories to back them up.

        A naturopathic doctor. These doctors deal with the body’s natural function, and use herbs, foods, and changes in diet to help the body heal itself.

        An allergist. One woman had nothing but trouble until she went to a korean doctor who also was an allergist. She found foods that were causing her a lot of trouble. I’ve heard a lot of stories like this.

        A hypnotherapist that specializes in IBS and/or pain control. There are some studies and great success stories from England of IBS being cured by hypnosis. Other people have used it for all kinds of help with pain. Even if it doesn’t fix everything it may help.

        An acupuncturist. Some people think acupuncture is not real. I promise you that it is. I had a chronic back issue (muscle problems) when I was about 22. Neither an MD, nor a year of chiropractic (3 times a week), could help. An acupuncturist fixed in 5 visits. If you can find one, I strongly recommend going to a person who studied at the New England School of Acupuncture.

        A food elimination diet can be a huge help for some. There are a few ways to do that. One way is to stop eating the most common problem foods, then adding them back one at a time too see if there is a pattern. Many of the practitioners listed above can help with that.

        Of course the trouble is, not all practitioners are equally talented. I went to an acupuncturist that was useless, and 2 that were AMAZING. I went to one naturopath that was NOT helpful, and one who made a huge difference. I know that makes the task seem even more daunting. Sorry.

        I earnestly hope that something here or elsewhere helps your poor daughter. Please let us know if you find something that helps!

        BEST OF LUCK! – Shawn

  25. Reply

    I have been diagnosed with this, and I can promise you, the pain is real. At cedars, they treat this with low level older anti-depressants, well, they have not worked and now I am getting a intrathecal pump implanted next week. The only treatment that works is Dilaudid in my CSF. Tried for two years to get it under control, but no dice. Luckily for me, my doctors are strong believers the pain is real.

    • Reply

      That sounds like a heavy duty treatment Jeremy! Thanks for sharing your information so that others have more information about their options. – Shawn

  26. Reply

    i have suffered from gut pain most of my life since i was misdiagnosed with ceoliac disease when i was 14.i am 63 years old now and the last five years have been terrible.i have all the tests but they are all clear yet i suffer from pain every day.things i used to be able to eat a few years ago are now intollerable.i dont understand why this is.i am virtually housebound and have to take morphine every day for the i would love to have a holiday!any advice would be appreciated.

    • Reply

      That sounds HORRIBLE! I don’t presume to give advice. I’m not a licensed professional or anything. But I will tell you what I think. So you’ve explored all the medical options, and got no relief? If diet changes don’t help, the only think I can think of is the mind body connection. Hypnosis and meditation have helped some of the people that I’ve talked to. I know that stress brings me gut pain like few other things. I’m told by all kinds of licensed professionals that stress, and the mind, and the gut are VERY connected. Maybe there is something for you there. I wish I could be more help. I hope you get some relief, William. – Shawn

  27. Reply

    I am having SCREAMING gut pain that is totally incapacitating. All tests normal. CT, MRI,ultrasound, colonoscopy, EGD, blood tests.
    Any suggestions for medications?

    • Reply

      I understand where you’re coming from. I can’t recommend anything since I’m not a doctor, but my gastsroenterologist gave me a special kind of muscle relaxant that works on bowels. It seems to help a bit, but it makes me sleepy.

      • Reply

        very interested in your mention of a muscle relaxant that works on bowels,can you please tell me any names of these & or if i would need a prescription to obtain them(im in the uk)im on Oramorph which does Not work.

    • Reply

      I was diagnosed with Visceral Hypersensitivity, Autonomic dysfunction, and a host of other illnesses. I smoke medicinal cannabis for me incapacitating gut pain and it really helps. I take tramadol, Nortriptyline, and Gabapentin, and those together do not work as well as the cannabis. I was forced to move to Colorado because of the legality issues around it, but it was worth it for my quality of life. I am also 6′ 3″ and 130lbs, so I need the help eating and fighting nausea.

      • Reply

        Hi Chris,

        I’ve heard of this condition, and I think I know someone that has one version of it. It’s also sometimes related to mitral valve prolapse syndrome, although it seems like the valve itself is a symptom, and not a cause. Thanks for bringing it into our conversation!

        Still dysautonomia is not well understood, at all. In fact it’s one of those things some doctors don’t seem to believe in.

        6’3″ and 130 lbs is way underweight! I admit that I don’t know anything about cannabis and medical use, outside of cancer and glaucoma, but I’m glad there is SOMETHING to help you.

        I hope you enjoy Colorado. I’ve always wanted to visit, and considered moving there. All the best – Shawn

    • Reply

      Yes, there is a way to deal with it if all else fails. Try low dose antidepressants. They work freak from my visceral hypersensitivity. Take them for 3 days and it’s gone just like that. Key reducing the dose until you find the minimum dose you need.

      • Reply

        Not everyone gets the relief you did. I am on my 20th day with no relief.

  28. Reply

    OK, I understand. But the pain is so real! And I still don’t know how to deal with it. I have phisotherapy sessions, do some exercises, walk, added recently meditation. I also try to ignore as much as I can- telling myself that I need to “disconnect” somehow this brain- viscera link…
    But there are times I feel so impatient…
    Thank you. Ivonush

    ***By the way: great web-page

    • Reply

      Sorry your having such a frustrating time, Ivonush. Thanks for sharing your experiences and for the compliment. – Shawn

    • Reply

      Yes, there is a way to deal with it if all else fails. Try low dose antidepressants. They work freak from my visceral hypersensitivity. Take them for 3 days and it’s gone just like that. Key reducing the dose until you find the minimum dose you need.

      • Reply

        Dear Fadi,

        How are you doing? I am thinking of starting low dose antidepressants for visceral hypersensitivity of the oesophagus.

        Best wishes,

        • Reply

          Dear Amelia,

          I got diagnosed with visceral hypersenstivity of the oesophagus too and i want to try the antidepressants before having surgery to correct my hernia. Im curious as to how you got on? Did it help?

          Best wishes,

          • I was finally diagnosed after being in and out of the hospital for months. I was put on pain meds and antidepressionants. The combination of pills messed up my liver. I was given a mefical marijuana card & it worked wonders. Along with meditation it has helped alot. I have flare ups every so often which requires a trip to the ER. I mostly do edibles. When its really bad i vape. Good luck

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