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Barbara Bradley Bolen, Ph.D.

IBS and Extra-Intestinal Symptoms in Gulf War Veterans

By December 2, 2009

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Well, I usually try to go to a direct source for my material, but in this case, I thought the info was too interesting to wait until the study was published. A helpful reader pointed me toward the IFFGD facebook page. They profiled a study that was presented at the 2009 Annual ACG Meeting. According to the IFFGD posting, the study was entitled "Extra-intestinal Symptoms in Gulf War Veterans with Irritable Bowel Syndrome" (Tuteja, A., Tolman, K., Stoddard, G., Talley, N., & Verne, N. - Abstract Poster 1147).

According to the IFFGD posting, the study measured the rate of extra-intestinal symptoms in Gulf War veterans, both with and without IBS. The vets with IBS were more likely to suffer from "headache, insomnia, fatigue, stiffness, joint pains, dizziness and weakness." Also according to the IFFGD posting, the authors of the study concluded that these "symptoms were not explained by psychological disorders" and "suggest a dysfunction in systems throughout the body".

So sorry to hear that Gulf War veterans having finished one fight are now dealing with IBS, along with all of these other health problems. The symptoms identified in this study are in line with those that you readers have all reported (What Other Symptoms Do You Have?). One can maintain the hope that research such as this will uncover the reason behind this whole-body dysfunction and lead to more effective treatments.

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December 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm
(1) Maija Haavisto says:

I think this just confirms what we already know. Illnesses like fibromyalgia, CFS/ME and GWS are more common in the IBS population – and vice versa.

December 2, 2009 at 3:04 pm
(2) stepjrn says:

Regarding the first comment, yes, but some of us with IBS have these symptoms without being specifically diagnosable with anything else. IBS researchers have known this for quite a while, but it’s not discussed publicly as much as the GI symptoms, many health care professionals who don’t research IBS don’t know and thus don’t connect the symptoms to IBS, many people with IBS don’t know, and even if the professionals and the affected people do know, existing IBS treatments address non-GI symptoms even less well than GI symptoms. Awareness of this is important– including the conclusion that those symptoms are apparently not psychological any more than GI symptoms are in one’s head.

December 3, 2009 at 2:19 am
(3) Lyn says:

The second comment is very good.
It is not in our head and finding a doctor who understands the affect it has on your daily life is hard.
Something is wrong as so many people now have it and I do beleive stress has a bit thing in it and how it affects you.
I have had all the tests and yes have been diagnosed with Chronic Diahreoa, told by Gastroligist I have IBS.
But he never really helped me said go to a Nutritionist and she never helped.
So is something that they need to study more and not shake their heads and just perscibe Anti D tablets or sedatives, and treat you like your nuts.

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