IBS or irritable bowel syndrome isn’t a pleasant thing to live with. It’s a chronic disease impacting the lives of many, but it doesn’t have to keep you from joining the military. Many have asked the question and want to know if it’s still possible to join the military with IBS. When it comes to military recruiting and IBS, it may not be just a simple yes or no.
As you go through the process of joining the military, you’ll have to go through a medical examination and health disclosure process. You may receive the go-ahead during this time, but you may not. It’s possible you can join the military with a history of IBS, but it’s not guaranteed.
Speak with Your Military Recruiter about IBS
Your recruiter will have the information you need about joining IBS. Make sure you let your military recruiter know you have IBS and how you’ve treated it over the years. If it’s well-controlled, there’s a good chance you can still join the military and serve your country.
Why IBS May Disqualify You from Military Service
IBS doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot join the military. However, it could disqualify you. Basic training is very strenuous and combat will be, as well. If you have a chronic disease that could interfere with either, you could be rejected by the military.
Those unable to function without medication could easily be disqualified. This will also be the case for those needing irregular bathroom breaks. During basic training, your bathroom breaks are scheduled and you won’t be able to just leave your post if you have an issue.
In addition, if you suffer from severe constipation, it could cause you to go on sick calls. If you suffer from IBS, you will have to go through the medical exam and it’s not a guarantee you will be qualified for military service.
How the Decision will be Made
Military recruiting and IBS can be tricky. It’s not a cut-and-dry issue where you’re either in or you’re not. The decision will be up to the Department of Defense and you will have to meet the Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction. These state:
1. Recruits may not have a contagious disease that could threaten other soldiers.
IBS isn’t always considered to be contagious, but if it’s caused by a virus or bacterial infection, you may need to be examined by a doctor before going through the recruitment process. Getting IBS treated before recruitment improves your chances of joining the military.
2. Recruits may not be able to serve in the military if they suffer from medical conditions or existing disabilities requiring a large amount of time away from their duties for medical treatment.
If your IBS makes you unfit to serve as a soldier because it’s not well-controlled, you may be disqualified for military service.
3. All military recruits need to be physically able to complete the required training.
If IBS interferes with your ability to complete basic training, you may be turned down by the military.
4. Recruits cannot be restricted geographically when it comes to where they can serve due to medical conditions.
If you have to have access to specific medical facilities or doctors for the treatment of your IBS, you may not be able to serve in the military.
5. Military service should not worsen existing medical conditions.
Serving in the military can be very stressful and if those involved in the military recruiting process feel it will make your IBS worse, they may disqualify you from service. Make sure you don’t lie to your military recruiter about your IBS. If you do, you could end up in big trouble down the road.
How to Join the Military with IBS
If you have IBS, you want to get it treated and make sure it’s well-controlled before starting the military recruiting process. Make sure you have your IBS under good control when you enlist and keep it that way. If you happen to miss too many scheduled training programs, you could be discharged or reassigned for training at a later date.
When you go through the medical exam, during the military recruiting process, make sure you provide a detailed history of your IBS. If it has been under control for quite some time, you will likely need to provide proof of this.
If you’re currently undergoing treatment for IBS and it’s successful, you may want to delay joining the military until you can choose many months or even a full year of proof. The better control it’s under before your medical exam, the better chance you have of enlisting.
You don’t have to feel like you cannot join the military because of IBS. Military recruiting and IBS isn’t cut and dry. It’s handled on a case-by-case basis and if you have your IBS under control, you will likely be able to join the military.