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Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Veterans Disability

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Veterans Disability

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition that affects many veterans, either as a service-connected disability or as a condition they seek service connection for. Leah talks about irritable bowel syndrome and veterans disability and addresses some frequently asked questions surrounding this medical condition.

Defining Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

IBS is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that generally persist for over six months. Diagnosis is typically made by a medical professional, including primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, or physicians like gastroenterologists. The Rome criteria, a set of diagnostic guidelines, often serve as a basis for diagnosis. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, or a combination of these.

Diagnosis Myths and Facts

There are misconceptions regarding the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Contrary to popular belief, a diagnosis doesn’t always require invasive procedures like colonoscopies or upper GI series. While some cases may warrant such tests, the Rome criteria can guide diagnosis, making it a relatively straightforward process. Each medical practitioner may have their preferred approach, ranging from extensive lab panels to simply reviewing a patient’s diary of symptoms.

Service Connection for IBS

Gulf War Exposures

Many veterans find themselves service-connected for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, often linked to Gulf War exposures. IBS falls under the umbrella of functional gastrointestinal disorders, making it a condition associated with specific regions of the Gulf War. However, it’s crucial to note that Gulf War-related service connection isn’t limited to IBS alone. Veterans with documented chronic diarrhea or constipation may also qualify for service connection.

Rating Criteria

When it comes to rating IBS for disability benefits, the VA uses a specific rating scale. Ratings can range up to 30 percent, and it’s essential to understand that if a veteran has other gastrointestinal disorders with overlapping symptoms, the VA may apply pyramiding, resulting in a combination of ratings. Veterans navigating this process are advised to seek assistance from accredited agents, attorneys, or Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to ensure a clear understanding of their specific case.

Mental Health Conditions and IBS

The Connection to Mental Health

Another aspect that frequently arises is the connection between IBS and mental health conditions. Research indicates that IBS symptoms can be exacerbated by mental health issues such as PTSD and depression. Veterans with a service connection for PTSD, particularly those who served in the Gulf War, should provide comprehensive information when seeking service connection for IBS. This includes details on how mental health conditions may contribute to or worsen IBS symptoms.

Building a Comprehensive Case

When pursuing service connection for IBS, it’s essential to present as much detail about the history of the individuals condition as possible. Medical opinions should encompass all relevant facts, including the interplay between mental health and IBS. A thorough examination of the veteran’s history, symptoms, and any documented instances of symptom exacerbation related to mental health conditions can support the relationship.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding the intricacies of service connection for IBS among veterans is crucial for those navigating the VA disability system. Whether linked to Gulf War exposures, mental health conditions, or other disabilities, veterans should consider expert consultation. Working with accredited agents, attorneys, or VSOs can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of the VA disability process, ensuring veterans receive the benefits they rightfully deserve.

Also read: What to Expect in Headaches C&P Exam

At Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting, a veteran-owned company, we specialize in Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs) known as Nexus letters.

Our purpose is to empower YOU, the veteran, to take charge of your medical evidence and provide you with valuable educational tools and research to guide you on your journey.

Understanding the unique challenges veterans face, our commitment lies in delivering exceptional service and support.

Leveraging an extensive network of licensed independent medical professionals, all well-versed in the medical professional aspects of the VA claims process, we review the necessary medical evidence to incorporate in our reports related to your VA Disability Claim.

Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting is not a law firm, accredited claims agent, or affiliated with the Veterans Administration or Veterans Services Organizations. However, we are happy to discuss your case with your accredited VA legal professional.

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Danielle McClaskey

Client Relations Specialist U.S. Navy Veteran

In her active-duty service in the United States Navy, Danielle undertook a variety of responsibilities, ranging from essential administrative duties to providing crucial medical care. Her multifaceted contributions played a pivotal role in enhancing her fellow service members’ operational effectiveness and well-being.

As a disabled veteran, she developed a profound understanding of the unique challenges faced by her fellow service members. Now, in her civilian role, Danielle is a valued member of the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team, where she continues to leverage her extensive background and educational achievements to provide exceptional support to veterans.

Leticia

LETICIA

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Leticia has been in the medical field for nearly 14 years. She has always had a passion for medicine and caring for her community. Leticia has spent the last 4 years caring for veterans and first responders with alcohol and substance abuse in a medical rehabilitation setting whilst continuing her education working towards a degree in software development.

Someday she hopes to develop medical software that further enhances the patient’s experience in medical care. Leticia has a deep respect and love for those who have served as she comes from a family of law enforcement and military veterans.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Julie Pereira

JULIE PEREIRA:

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

During her Active-Duty time in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, Julie provided medical administration
and patient care services in the field, the hospital, and base medical office settings.  This military medical and
administrative background has given Julie the hands-on experience and extensive knowledge necessary to
provide unparalleled service to her fellow Veterans through the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Julie’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Human Services and a pre-nursing associate in arts and science.

Julie has been inspired by her firsthand knowledge of navigating the VA Benefits process. She has dedicated
most of her adult life to serving Veterans through her knowledge derived from her military and civilian medical
education and training.

Jennifer Januta

JENNIFER JANUTA

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

During her Active-Duty service in the Army, Jennifer supported various research efforts centered on combat casualty care and Soldier performance. Her military background gave her unique insights into veterans’ distinct challenges, ultimately inspiring her to join the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Jennifer’s educational achievements include a master’s in molecular biology from George Washington University and a master’s in data science from Texas Tech University. Jennifer wholeheartedly dedicates herself to utilizing her knowledge and expertise gained from 15 years of healthcare experience to impact the well-being of those who have served positively.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Leah - Meet the Team

LEAH BUCHOLZ, PA-C

U.S ARMY VETERAN, MEDICAL EXPERT & FORMER C & P EXAMINER

Meet Leah, the founder, and leader of our organization. ​​A combat veteran herself, she understands the unique challenges veterans face, making her mission about much more than running a successful business. It’s about the opportunity to provide a legacy of exceptional service for our heroes.​

​“It is essential to remember that there is no greater honor than caring for service members on the battlefield. Continuing to care for Veterans after separation is an opportunity that I have been afforded to extend that care in this new battlefield related to service-incurred disabilities.”

Her inspiration comes from years of military experience working alongside her fellow servicemembers, particularly key leaders who have influenced her journey, applying their wisdom to her path. She values her team deeply, most of whom are also disabled combat veterans, each member a trusted individual sharing her vision.

 “Driven by passion and purpose, I aim to create a sustainable change that empowers veterans and future generations.”

Leah’s journey hasn’t been without challenges. From overcoming and living with her service-related disabilities to navigating work-life balance, she’s learned to face each hurdle head-on with resilience.  Like many of her veteran brothers and sisters, her early background consisted of limited resources and opportunities. Her military service has helped shape her into a steadfast leader, offering relatable inspiration to others.

Join us in celebrating Leah, a compassionate leader, and resilient veteran, driving our mission to serve those who served our nation.