This month’s 14th celebration of National Military Appreciation Month couldn’t have come at a better time to spotlight the problems some of our stressed soldiers experience with their gut health.
A recent study concluded that higher stress, anxiety and depression felt by 37 male army soldiers during their fourth week of intense combat training (after a resting period) were connected to a greater incidence and severity of gastrointestinal problems, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
The good news: The Department of Veterans Affairs is recognizing these IBS-related health problems suffered by soldiers.
Last year, the VA began implementing an assessment rule for disability benefits, taking into account the high numbers of deployed soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq suffering from IBS and other gastrointestinal setbacks.
“The effects of IBS and other digestive disorders can be debilitating and disruptive to a person’s everyday life,” says International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders President and Founder Nancy Norton. “It’s important that veterans are aware of symptoms of IBS and the advancements in this arena so that they can be best cared for after returning home from service.
“IBS is a long-term condition with symptoms that can change over time in a person. There isn’t an easy remedy for people with IBS, but working in partnership with a knowledgeable care provider can often go a long way toward helping to manage the symptoms.”
The Institute of Medicine released Gulf War and Health Volume 9, a recent report that found there was no “one-size-fits-all” answer for veterans experiencing chronic, multi-symptom illnesses like IBS.