What Is IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome?

According to Mayo Clinic and others, IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome is defined as: An intestinal disorder causing pain in the belly, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. In short Abnormal colon contractions and abdominal pain.

Common
More than 200,000 US cases per year
Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured
Requires a medical diagnosis
Lab tests or imaging rarely required
Chronic: can last for years or be lifelong
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome isn’t well understood. A diagnosis is often made based on symptoms.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation.
Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Others will need medication and counseling. End of report.
This is another condition that was caused do to my military service and part of my V.A, Appeal, but the V.A. Claims Dept. is making me go through hoops in order to be compensated for this and many other conditions. This is a condition that I’ve had for many years now and it has proven to be at times uncontrollable. Most people who experience IBS can be either diarrhea or constipation dominant from time to time. Some people can experience both symptoms. I have had bouts with both diarrhea and constipation several years ago on a consistent basis. During that period of time whenever I went to a public setting I had extreme diarrhea. I eventually had to take a medication to stop me from using it before I left home. I then had to take a medication to start back using the bathroom while at home.
I remember one of my worse experiences with constipation was some where around mid 2000. I went at least 12 days without being able to number 2. I was taking everything from stool softeners to various constipation medications, drinking water and everything else that I thought would help. I walked into a CVS Pharmacy bent over with extreme stomach pain. I had seen a commercial on television about MiraLax in which I hadn’t tried. I purchased the MiraLax, went back home and followed the instructions on consumption. Man, a few hours later I started sh _ _ _ _ ng all the place. Now imagine this, feeling relief from my stomach finally emptying but at the same time experiencing a totally different pain in my intestines. My stomach muscles were hurting because the mess had my large intestine stretched beyond it’s normal capacity. In spite of the  pain I had finally found relief. I have experienced all of the symptoms associated with IBS except, of course, weight loss.
I have also had a total of three pectic ulcers as result of my IBS. If you read the portion of my V.A. Appeal that’ll be added below you’ll see that there are several causes for this condition. Certain medications, stress and anxiety can be contributors to this condition. While on active duty I experienced depression and anxiety (service connected). But one of the major contributors was the long term affects of the 800mg Motrin I took  consistently for at least 6-8 years due to injuries. For at least five of these years I played higher level softball in Germany where almost all of my team members popped 800mg Motrin for pain like they were M&M’s. I said that to say this; “I know in my heart and sole that their are thousands more veterans who may have been affected negatively by taking this medication for so long and on a consistent basis. And I know they’re having the same problems getting compensated just as I am. What a shame.
Below you’ll see #5 of my V.A. Appeal for IBS- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and GERD- Gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Copy of original:

5. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).- Evaluation of Disability

According to Mayo Clinic (article listed below), 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/irritable-bowel-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20360016  
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that affects the large intestine. Signs and symptoms include cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term.

Risk factors

Many people have occasional signs and symptoms of IBS. But you’re more likely to have the syndrome if you:

 

  • Are young. IBS occurs more frequently in people under age 50.
    • Have a mental health problem. Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are associated with IBS. A history of sexual, physical or emotional abuse also might be a risk factor.

Complications
Chronic constipation or diarrhea can cause hemorrhoids.

In addition, IBS is associated with:

  • Poor quality of life.Many people with moderate to severe IBS report poor quality of life. Research indicates that people with IBS miss three times as many days from work as do those without bowel symptoms.
  • Mood disorders.Experiencing the signs and symptoms of IBS can lead to depression or anxiety. Depression and anxiety also can make IBS worse

Symptoms

  • Burning stomach pain
  • Feeling of fullness, bloating or belching
  • Fatty food intolerance
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • The most common peptic ulcer symptom is burning stomach pain. Stomach acid makes the pain worse, as does having an empty stomach. The pain can often be relieved by eating certain foods that buffer stomach acid or by taking an acid-reducing medication, but then it may come back. The pain may be worse between meals and at night.

Nearly three-quarters of people with peptic ulcers don’t have symptoms.

Less often, ulcers may cause severe signs or symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting or vomiting blood — which may appear red or black
  • Dark blood in stools, or stools that are black or tarry
  • Trouble breathing
  • Feeling faint
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Appetite changes

Causes

Peptic ulcers occur when acid in the digestive tract eats away at the inner surface of the stomach or small intestine. The acid can create a painful open sore that may bleed.

Your digestive tract is coated with a mucous layer that normally protects against acid. But if the amount of acid is increased or the amount of mucus is decreased, you could develop an ulcer. Common causes include:

  • Regular use of certain pain relievers. Taking aspirin, as well as certain over-the-counter and prescription pain medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can irritate or inflame the lining of your stomach and small intestine. These medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, Anaprox, others), ketoprofen and others. They do not include acetaminophen (Tylenol).Peptic ulcers are more common in older adults who take these pain medications frequently or in people who take these medications for osteoarthritis.
  • Other medications. Taking certain other medications along with NSAIDs, such as steroids, anticoagulants, low-dose aspirin, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), alendronate (Fosamax) and risedronate (Actonel), can greatly increase the chance of developing ulcers
These are the abdominal symptoms I experience personally:
gas/bloating & extreme stomach pain
nausea dizziness
constipation & diarrhea
hemorrhoids & rectal bleeding

extreme fatigue

The above articles show a strong connection between the cause and symptoms of IBS & Peptic Ulcers.
To you the reader; heed the warnings of these conditions and their causes.
To my fellow veterans; file your claim and appeals if you know within your hearts that your condition or conditions were service connected. Also encourage every veteran that you come in contact with to do the same thing.
WERBETTER2GETHER

Why “Cause & Effect” Is Important To Me

When I address the subject of Cause & Effect I speak of many personal issues as well as taking an open-minded look at the situations and circumstances that affect us all in our daily lives.

This topic became a major one to me when I had to file an appeal for my most recent V.A. Claim. I have several medical issues that have really started to flare up as I get older. All of these medical issues are service connected but the military doesn’t want to compensate me for these illnesses and injuries. My latest appeal took (14 pages) a lot of research in order for me to justify why I should be compensated for my present condition, as if I’m the medical expert.

Now this may be foolish thinking on my behalf, but I think when we veterans and service members file claims that the Claims Experts should be the ones to do the in dept investigating into the “Causes & Effects” of our illnesses and injuries.

I am going to give you as the reader an example of just one of the many medical issues that I have and filed a claim for but was denied because they say there’s no Service Connected. Example: Torn Meniscus- In November of 2017 I was umpiring an adult softball game when I simply turned to first base to make a safe or out call. I have made this same “simple call” thousands of times over my years as an umpire without any problems or injuries. So, on this particular night when I turned to make the call I felt a sort of twinge in my left knee. As the night progressed my knee started swelling and the pain got worse and I had no idea what was going on. As the days passed my left knee got tremendously worse with swelling and intense pain. Me not being the Medical Expert diagnosed myself with gout because of a few other medical issues that had flared up in my recent past. Within three to six months before the knee injury, my big left toe had swollen up a few times as well as a mark similar to a mild burn on my left wrist. When I did my goggle research it lead me to think at that time I had gout. To make a longer story shorter, finally after a few family care doctor visits and a few trips to the emergency room and six to eight months later,  x-rays and an MRI  confirmed I had a Torn Meniscus of my left knee. When I filed the V.A. Claim, I added the torn meniscus to the other medical issues that I have and am not being compensated for. When the claim came back, they had denied me any compensation for left knee meniscus tear because they said it wasn’t service connected. So I had to start conducting my own google research in order to make the connection. Read the exact explanation I sent back with my appeal.

3. Torn Meniscus, left knee with osteoarthritis- Service Connection:
As stated in this video (link listed below) Meniscus Wear could very well be due to injuries and/or joint deterioration which develops over a period of time from past physical activities.

 

According to Ross A. Howser, MD, Danielle R. Steilen, MMS, PA-C, Timothy L. Speciale, DO, of CaringMedical.com, in the Joint Instability & Degenerative Arthritis Discussion also support the facts that the injuries & degenerative joint arthritis don’t happen suddenly but over a period of time. They also stated that these injuries if not treated eventually leads to joint and meniscus deterioration. 
Personally speaking this injury has me baffled as well. I was umpiring a slow-pitch softball game when I turned to make a very routine call at 1st base. I made the turned and settled myself and suddenly felt pain in my r/knee. As the night progressed my knee started hurting worse along with swelling. I went months without actually knowing what the diagnoses was.
As stated in the above article injuries like this can happen to people years after living a physical and athletic life.
My symptoms:
pain- (day & night) I have to sleep with a pillow every night to keep my r/leg elevated.
pain while walking- This pain can be very minimal at times and be extremely excruciating at other times. It’s worse when I walk on unpaved pavement.
swelling
problems climbing stairs- I have pain in my r/knee area sometimes from just lifting my leg.
pain- I have to keep my leg either bent to a comfortable degree or elevate it. Straightening it out while sitting is extremely painful.
pain- sometimes the pain is so excruciating that I am hopping around from spot to spot because nothing minimizes the pain but time. End of research for meniscus tear.
As of today I still don’t know what’ll become of my explanation in the last appeal, but my main issue here is “Cause & Effect.” I started refereeing basketball while serving on active duty in the fall of 1986. I eventually started officiating other sports as well. I played slow pitch softball for ten years and for four of those years I played for two different teams. I was a part of many many road marches while carry ruck sacks weighted at fifty to seventy pounds per road march, wearing combat boots. I am also a U.S. Army Paratrooper. And to put the cherry on top, I was diagnosed with Degenerative Joint Arthritis several years before at the Shreveport, LA’s V.A. Hospital in which I had to make the same service connection.
As stated earlier, I should not have had to be the one to find the “Cause & Effect” to these illnesses or injuries when the so-called Experts have access to the same medical records that they’ll go through in order for them to make a decision of service connection or not.
To sum this all up, because of (Cause) me being so active in different activities while serving on active duty I acquired Degenerative Joint Arthritis which caused (Effect) my left meniscus to eventually tear.
There are thousands of veterans experiencing the same nightmare because V.A. Personnel want us to get discouraged so we won’t carry through with the Appeals Process. And to be candid with you many veterans do give up never to file or appeal again. We need to stop this terrible lack of customer care from any Veterans Administration office or medical facility.
To my fellow veterans and service members, if you know in your hearts that your illnesses and/or injuries are service connected, file your claim and follow up with your appeal when they deny you. To all of you who are reading this blog, if you know any veterans or service members that fall into this category, please highly encourage them to file a claim for their medical issues and if need be follow it up immediately with an appeal.
Let’s join forces to be part of a major change for the better of our service members and veterans.
WERBETTER2GETHER