Skip to content

April 9, 2024

10 Most Common IBS Secondary Conditions

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

In this article, Brian Reese the VA Claims Insider, explains the 10 most likely IBS secondary conditions for secondary service connection.

What’s the bottom line?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a very common secondary claim.

Let’s explore our list of VA IBS secondary conditions that have the best chance of getting veterans service connected VA disability benefits according to current medical research.

Pro Tip: Effective May 19, 2024, under the new name for DC 7319, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), veterans will be eligible to receive VA disability for IBS ranging from 10% to 30% with a break at 20%.

List of the 10 Most Common IBS Secondary Conditions

Here’s a list of the most common IBS conditions for secondary service connection:

  • IBS Secondary to Anxiety
  • IBS Secondary to Depression
  • IBS Secondary to PTSD
  • IBS Secondary to Stress and Other Mental Health Issues
  • IBS Secondary to Food Intolerances or Sensitivities
  • IBS Secondary to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • IBS Secondary to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
  • IBS Secondary to Gastrointestinal Infections
  • IBS Secondary to Hormonal Imbalances (e.g., menstrual cycle-related)
  • IBS Secondary to Medication Side Effects (e.g., antibiotics, certain painkillers)

What are the Most Likely IBS Secondary Conditions?

#1. IBS Secondary to Anxiety

Anxiety can disrupt gut function and exacerbate IBS symptoms through the gut-brain axis. Veterans with service-connected anxiety may experience worsened gastrointestinal issues as a result.

#2. IBS Secondary to Depression

Similar to anxiety, depression can affect gut health and contribute to or worsen IBS symptoms. The physiological stress associated with depression can impact gut motility and the microbiome.

#3. IBS Secondary to PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is known to have physical health implications, including increased risk for gastrointestinal disorders like IBS. The stress response associated with PTSD can directly influence gut function and health.

#4. IBS Secondary to Stress and Mental Health Issues

Chronic stress and various mental health issues can exacerbate IBS symptoms. The physiological changes associated with stress and mental health can impact gut health directly. For VA rating purposes, there are 31 recognized mental health conditions that could cause or aggravate IBS.

#5. IBS Secondary to Food Intolerances or Sensitivities

Veterans with service-connected conditions that affect their diet or gastrointestinal health might develop or worsen IBS due to food intolerances or sensitivities, potentially as a reaction to stress, medication, or dietary changes necessitated by their primary condition.

#6. IBS Secondary to Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

While IBS and IBD are distinct conditions, they can share overlapping symptoms. In some cases, IBD may lead to the development of IBS-like symptoms, possibly due to ongoing inflammation or changes in gut flora.

#7. IBS Secondary to Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

This condition, which can be related to chronic straining or other issues, may exacerbate or contribute to the development of IBS symptoms, particularly constipation-predominant IBS.

#8. IBS Secondary to Gastrointestinal Infections

Veterans with a history of service-connected gastrointestinal infections may develop IBS as a post-infectious condition, where the gut flora and mucosal lining of the intestines have been altered by the infection.

#9. IBS Secondary to Hormonal Imbalances

Hormonal fluctuations, which can be related to stress, medications, or endocrine disorders, may affect gut motility and sensitivity, potentially worsening IBS symptoms.

#10. IBS Secondary to Medications Side Effects

Certain medications, including antibiotics and painkillers, can disrupt the gut microbiome or cause side effects that mimic or exacerbate IBS symptoms. If these medications are taken for service-connected conditions, the resultant IBS may be considered secondary. Here’s a list of medications that can potentially cause or worsen symptoms of IBS: Antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antidepressants, proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), laxatives, antispasmodic medications, and opioid pain medications, among others.

Can GERD Be Secondary to IBS?

It’s unlikely to get service connected for GERD secondary to IBS or IBS secondary to GERD.

The connection between GERD and IBS isn’t fully understood, but they often occur together. It’s not typically stated that GERD is secondary to IBS or vice versa, but rather that the coexistence of both may complicate the management and treatment of the other. The mechanisms behind their coexistence might involve shared risk factors, including dietary triggers, stress, and a hypersensitivity to internal bodily sensations.

It’s also important to note that the VA won’t issue separate ratings for both GERD and IBS because these conditions share similar symptoms that affect the digestive system. Awarding separate ratings for both conditions would be deemed as pyramiding, which is not permitted by the VA.

Sometimes the VA may consider symptoms from both conditions and assign a rating under a single gastrointestinal (GI) condition. For example, the VA might award a 50 percent rating for GERD with esophageal stricture and related IBS symptoms.

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

Related Articles

Featured Resources

Elite Membership

Dear Veteran,
Here’s the brutal truth about VA disability claims:

According to our data, 8/10 (80%) of veterans reading this message right now are underrated by the VA…

This means you do NOT currently have the VA disability rating and compensation YOU deserve, and you could be missing out on thousands of dollars of tax-free compensation and benefits each month.

As a fellow disabled Veteran this is shameful and I’m on a mission to change it.

Brian Reese here, Air Force service-disabled Veteran and Founder @ VA Claims Insider.

Since 2016, VA Claims Insider has helped thousands of Veterans just like you get the VA rating and compensation they deserve in less time.

If accepted into our ELITE membership program, you’ll get free up-front access and permission to use $13,119 worth of proprietary VA claim resources, including access to our network of independent medical professionals for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Medical Nexus Letters, which could help you get a HIGHER VA rating in LESS time.

It’s FREE to get started, so click “Go Elite Now” below to complete our 3-step intake process.

  1. Complete Basic Information
  2. Sign Members Agreement
  3. Join the Mastermind Group

If you’re stuck, frustrated, underrated, and currently rated between 0%-90%, VA Claims Insider Elite is for you!

Click “Go Elite Now” below to get started today and a member of our team will be in touch within minutes.

Go Elite Now!

Why Choose VA Claims Insider

You’ve exhausted your free resources

You're not alone. Thousands of other Veterans in our Community are here for you.

Veteran Community

You’re ready to get the rating you deserve

We know the pain of feeling stuck, frustrated, and alone, and we want to make this process as easy and painless as possible for you.

Explore Elite Membership

We win ONLY when YOU win

Hear from fellow Veterans just like you, with many of our Veteran Ambassadors having gone through our programs.

Schedule a Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call

Fellow Veterans:

For a limited time, you can book a free, no-obligation VA Claim Discovery Call with one of our experts.

Book A Call