Search
Close this search box.

GI Issues and Military Personnel

The onset of a functional gastrointestinal disorder (FGID) can be triggered by severe stress and infections of the digestive tract. Deployed military personnel face an elevated chance of experiencing these risk factors and developing FGIDs as a result of their service. The challenges of deployment and combat situations can be incredibly stressful, and digestive tract infections are common in areas outside the U.S. where living conditions may be less than ideal. The service connection of these conditions has been extensively studied and, most recently, a 2010 Institute of Medicine report, entitled Gulf War and Health: Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War, identified Functional GI Disorders along with 3 other multi-symptom illnesses present in veterans as related to their service during the Gulf War.

The majority of FGIDs are painful, debilitating, and chronic. Long after a soldier’s tour is over, and the stress or infection subsides, the FGID and its symptoms can remain. It is for this reason that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recognizes that there is a “presumption of service connection” for veterans suffering with Functional GI Disorders following their service during the Gulf War.

Our military personnel are taught to put duty first, and they often wait to reach out for help until their condition is quite severe. Not only are these conditions hard to treat, but in the words of one retired Sergeant, these “sometimes very embarrassing GI disorders” are just as hard to talk about.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CAN HELP

The Department of Defense (DOD) conducts important research into medical conditions that impact veterans and active-duty military personnel through its Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP). The House and Senate Defense Appropriations bills fund the DOD CDMRP’s Gulf War Illness Research Program (GWIRP), which provides an excellent source of funding for FGID research. The GWIRP was funded at a level of $20 million in FY 2017. Legislators must work to see that funding for the GWIRP is included in any agreement on future Defense Appropriations.

Share this page
Topics of this article
Was this article helpful?

IFFGD is a nonprofit education and research organization. Our mission is to inform, assist, and support people affected by gastrointestinal disorders.

Our original content is authored specifically for IFFGD readers, in response to your questions and concerns.

If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting IFFGD with a small tax-deductible donation.

Related Information
IFFGD’s 2024 Virtual Digestive Health Wellness & Walk Event: A Unique Charitable Event with Achievable Goals for All

The 2024 Virtual Digestive Health Wellness & Walk held Saturday, July 6, 2024 – Saturday, July 13, 2024 is a charitable event to raise money to support gastrointestinal illness research. 

Like a traditional walk, participants register to be active to get credit for steps taken during the event. However, this event goes beyond a step goal by also awarding points to participants for self-care, wellness, and outreach activities.

By adding these alternative activities, we hope that anyone that wants to participate, can participate. #Moves4GIhealth24

Read More »
IFFGD’S 2024 Advocacy Event

Register Now! IFFGD’S Advocacy Event Details Register here IFFGD’s 2024 Advocacy Event is a complimentary event designed to educate the community about access to healthcare and treatment. This

Read More »
2024 IFFGD Travel Awards

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is pleased to announce that we are seeking applications/nominations for our 2024 Junior Academician Travel Awards. THIS APPLICATION

Read More »
Personal Stories
IFFGD’s 2024 Virtual Digestive Health Wellness & Walk Event: A Unique Charitable Event with Achievable Goals for All

The 2024 Virtual Digestive Health Wellness & Walk held Saturday, July 6, 2024 – Saturday, July 13, 2024 is a charitable event to raise money to support gastrointestinal illness research. 

Like a traditional walk, participants register to be active to get credit for steps taken during the event. However, this event goes beyond a step goal by also awarding points to participants for self-care, wellness, and outreach activities.

By adding these alternative activities, we hope that anyone that wants to participate, can participate. #Moves4GIhealth24

Read More »
IFFGD’S 2024 Advocacy Event

Register Now! IFFGD’S Advocacy Event Details Register here IFFGD’s 2024 Advocacy Event is a complimentary event designed to educate the community about access to healthcare and treatment. This

Read More »
2024 IFFGD Travel Awards

The International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) is pleased to announce that we are seeking applications/nominations for our 2024 Junior Academician Travel Awards. THIS APPLICATION

Read More »
Skip to content