Stress disorder link to poor gut health among veterans

·1-min read
Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS

Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder could be more prone to gut-related health problems, new research suggests.

A recent study by the University of Queensland found higher rates of medical procedures for gut issues like irritable bowel syndrome and gastrointestinal conditions in veterans with PTSD.

Researchers analysed 138,471 male veterans and found those with PTSD were 77-81 per cent more likely to undergo upper gastrointestinal procedures such as endoscopies and ultrasounds.

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder which is often triggered by a traumatic event.

Darrell Crawford, who led the study published in the Internal Medicine Journal, a publication of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, said gut problems were particularly prevalent among Vietnam veterans with PTSD.

"Our studies continue to show how physical and mental health are interrelated," Professor Crawford said.

"Chronic stress and hyper-arousal due to trauma exposure may trigger symptoms and can lead to the development of symptom-based diseases that don't currently have identifiable physical causes, like IBS."

The study also found other risk factors for gut issues like gastroesophageal reflux and peptic ulcer disease include obesity, smoking and excess alcohol consumption.