Military Medical Standards for Enlistment and Commission

Abdominal Organs and Gastrointestinal System

Endoscopic image of a healthy colon.
••• JUAN GARTNER / Science Photo Library / Getty Images

Throughout the entire gastrointestinal tract from the esophagus to the rectum, there are many ailments and congenital issues that occur to prevent people from being eligible for military service.

The disqualifying medical conditions are listed below. The causes for rejection for appointment, enlistment, and induction (without an approved waiver) are an authenticated history of:

Esophagus.

Current or history of esophageal disease, including, but not limited to ulceration, varices, fistula, achalasia, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), or complications from GERD including stricture, or maintenance on acid suppression medication, or other dysmotility disorders; chronic, or recurrent esophagitis, is disqualifying.

GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the upper stomach and the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscle that protects the stomach contents from flowing into the throat. GERD is very common but can be relieved through diet and lifestyle changes. Some people may require medication or surgery, which is waiverable on a case by case basis.

Current or history of reactive airway disease associated with GERD is disqualifying. Current or history of dysmotility disorders (a health problem in which the muscles of the digestive system do not work as they should), chronic, or recurrent esophagitis (inflammation of the esophagus that causes pain and irritation) is disqualifying.

History of surgical correction for GERD within 6 months is disqualifying. (esophageal correction, stomach correction and intestinal correction.)

Stomach Ulcers and Duodenum.

Current gastritis, chronic or severe, or non-ulcerative dyspepsia that requires maintenance medication is disqualifying. Dyspepsia is a pain or an uncomfortable feeling in the upper middle part of your stomach

Current ulcer of stomach or duodenum confirmed by x-ray or endoscopy is disqualifying.

History of surgery for peptic ulceration or perforation is disqualifying.

Small and Large Intestine.

Current or history of inflammatory bowel disease, including, but not limited to unspecified, regional enteritis or Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or ulcerative proctitis, is disqualifying. Very rarely do any of these gain waivers for admission into the military.

Current or history of intestinal malabsorption syndromes, including, but not limited to post-surgical and idiopathic, is disqualifying.

Lactase deficiency is disqualifying only if of sufficient severity to require frequent intervention, or to interfere with normal function

Current or history of gastrointestinal functional and motility disorders within the past 2 years, including, but not limited to pseudo-obstruction, megacolon, history of volvulus, or chronic constipation and/or diarrhea, regardless of cause, persisting or symptomatic in the past 2 years, is disqualifying.

Current or history of irritable bowel syndrome of sufficient severity to require frequent intervention or to interfere with normal function is disqualifying.

History of bowel resection is disqualifying.

Current symptomatic diverticular disease of the intestine is disqualifying.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding.

History of gastrointestinal bleeding, including positive occult blood if the cause has not been corrected, is disqualifying. If you go to MEPS with current or any history of bleeding, it is disqualifying if it cannot be corrected. If it can, it still will require a waiver and approved on a case by case basis.

Meckel’s diverticulum, if surgically corrected greater than 6 months prior, is not disqualifying.

Liver / Hepatic-biliary Tract.

Current acute or chronic hepatitis, hepatitis carrier state, hepatitis in the preceding six months, or persistence of symptoms after six months, or objective evidence of impairment of liver function is disqualifying.

Current or history of cirrhosis, hepatic cysts, abscess, or sequelae of chronic liver disease is disqualifying.

Current or history of symptomatic cholecystitis, acute or chronic, with or without cholelithiasis, postcholecystectomy syndrome, or other disorders of the gallbladder and biliary system are disqualifying.

Cholecystectomy is not disqualifying if performed greater than six months prior to examination and patient remains asymptomatic.

Fiberoptic procedure to correct sphincter dysfunction or cholelithiasis if performed greater than six months prior to examination and patient remains asymptomatic may not be disqualifying.

Current or history of pancreatitis, acute or chronic, is disqualifying.

Current or history of metabolic liver disease, including, but not limited to hemochromatosis, Wilson’s disease, or alpha-1 anti-trypsin deficiency, is disqualifying

Current enlargement of the liver from any cause is disqualifying.

Anorectal.

Current anal fissure or anal fistula is disqualifying.

Current or history of anal or rectal polyp, prolapse, stricture, or fecal incontinence within the last two years is disqualifying.

Current hemorrhoid (internal or external), when large, symptomatic, or with a history of bleeding within the last 60 days, is disqualifying.

Spleen.

Current splenomegaly is disqualifying.

History of splenectomy is disqualifying, except when resulting from trauma.

Abdominal Wall.

Current hernia, including, but not limited to uncorrected inguinal and other abdominal wall hernias, are disqualifying.

History of open or laparoscopic abdominal surgery during the preceding six months is disqualifying.

Other.

History of any gastrointestinal procedure for the control of obesity is disqualifying. Artificial openings, including, but not limited to ostomy, are disqualifying.

Derived from Department of Defense (DOD) Directive 6130.3, Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, and Induction, and DOD Instruction 6130.4, Criteria and Procedure Requirements for Physical Standards for Appointment, Enlistment, or Induction in the Armed Forces.