OIF/OEF Combat Vets

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Joined: 2012-04-23 22:34:50

OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Post by may0hthree »

What's going on, I served 7 years AD USMC Infantry. Three tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. 27 y/o now but i was 23 when i first started having issues. My family has no history of Crohns/Colitis/UC/GI disease. No history of Colon cancer, etc. During the tail end of my third tour i started experiencing the issues assoiciated w/Crohns/UC. The reason for this post is to gage how many OIF/OEF Combat Vets with no history of Crohns/Colitis have returned only to be diagnosed with one or the other?
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Re: OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Post by Mckinndn »

Hi I wanted to reply to your post because my mother has often asked me if I might have "caught" something that caused my disease. I spent 4 years in the military but never deployed overseas. However, I was tdy to Andrews Air Force Base in Washington DC for 4 months in 2005. I am a medic so we worked very closely treating and caring for the injured troops coming back and their belongings. our Leadership stressed all the time how careful we needed to be about cleaning and throwing away anything left behind by troops as it could carry some type of virus or disease? I honestly didn't give it much thought so I don't remember what it was called but I know they were strict about it.
Anyway I realize now but not at the time that during that last month there is when I started with the stomach problems. Not as severe as they have become but that's when it began and it got worse as time went by. There is no family history of digestive disease but there are autoimmune disease which UC is as well. Anyway when I was diagnosed my mom always questioned if I could have come in contact with something from my time there or even from my fiancé things when he returned from Iraq in 07.
Do you believe there could have been something that triggered or caused your disease?
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Mike ET
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Re: OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Post by Mike ET »


Inflammatory Bowel disease (IBD) is a very complex entity that has no clear or single cause and is more likely of a complex autoimmune nature, which may have many triggers and genetic links. If one looks at the civilian and military populations one could see that the incidence rates for IBD have no clear or complete listing of potential causalities. What we have learned over the decades is that any autoimmune condition that is threatened by external and internal events or settings may further stress or weaken the immune system and symptoms may arise early or late in the in the process.

It truly is quite difficult to demonstrate, let alone support, a direct link between IBD and military service.

By way of personal example I was initially diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) during my stateside enlistment in 1963. Many decades later my presumptive UC diagnosis was corrected by way of very recent serological testing to actually have Crohn's disease. As of this past September I was diagnosed with an unusual blood clotting disorder related to an autoimmune deficiency, most likely inherited from my mother. Regarding the blood disorder, the normal presentation of this entity is that younger people, and women in particular, present with clotting problems that are subsequently linked to the autoimmune genetic defect. That I am so much older (2x - 3x the normally affected population) and presented with this disorder does make it very hard for anyone in the current health arena to explain how this all came about at this point in my life.

The upshot to my comments is that it is really quite hard to attach a direct cause and effect to complex autoimmune disorders. Bad things happen and we still have no clear picture as to how and why such untoward events come about. Scientists and lay folks continue to struggle with understanding the complexity of nature and lifestyle influences.

Mike ET
ostomy can present an identity crisis of image and function, and require tradeoffs.
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Re: OIF/OEF Combat Vets

Post by Skygrin »

Hi, I just came across this post having just had an illiostomy and complete proctectomy because of colitis. I served in Iraq for 6 months in 2003/2004. I am still in touch with one of my fellow soldiers and he has just been diagnosed with crones disease after a few years of bowel and stomach problems. Both of us have no family history of bowel disease (or any kind of disease for that matter). It all just seems a bit too coincidental for my liking.
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