Episode 89

Brain-gut Therapies with GI Psychologist Dr Megan Riehl


August 16th, 2022

46 mins 7 secs

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About this Episode

*The information in this podcast is intended for Healthcare Practitioners.

Dr. Megan Riehl is one of only a small number of specialists in the world who practices as a Gastrointestinal Psychologist. She is the Clinical Director of the GI Behavioural Health Program at the University of Michigan, offering comprehensive treatment options for people suffering disorders of gut-brain interaction (DGBI), such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Whilst a great deal of attention in natural medicine is paid to how the gut affects brain function, in this episode, Dr Reihl highlights how the brain can have a profound effect on GI function.

Dr Riehl describes how gastrointestinal (GI) conditions can be better understood and managed by transitioning our framework from a mechanistic model to a biopsychosocial model. She discusses the connection between factors such as early life stress, catastrophising and symptom hypervigilance with the incidence and severity of IBS. Dr Riehl walks listeners through several brain-gut strategies and therapies from self-care to practitioner-guided therapy. Learn about the efficacy of cognitive behvioural therapy (CBT) and gut-directed hypnosis for DGBI and discover several digital tools that practitioners can consider. To finish, the conversation turns to another area Dr Riehl is passionate about – screening and managing disordered eating that is linked to, or can develop from, DGBI. Tune into an episode jammed packed with clinical pearls!

Useful Links

Dr Riehl’s diaphragmatic breathing tutorial - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB3tSaiEbNY

Nerva gut-directed hypnosis app - https://www.mindsethealth.com/hypnotherapy/nerva

ROME Foundation - https://theromefoundation.org/

GI On Demand - https://giondemand.com/

Jagielski CH, Riehl ME. Behavioral Strategies for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Brain-Gut or Gut-Brain? Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2021 Sep;50(3):581-593. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2021.03.006. Epub 2021 Jun 25. PMID: 34304789. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34304789/

Riehl ME, Scarlata K. Understanding Disordered Eating Risks in Patients with Gastrointestinal Conditions. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2022 Mar;122(3):491-499. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2021.03.001. Epub 2021 Apr 20. PMID: 33893063. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33893063/

Call out to those who may be interested in participating in an endometriosis study: https://www.nicm.edu.au/research/clinical_trials/endometriosis_study