Immune Augmentation Therapy for Gulf War Syndrome

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I am a marriage and family therapist treating a client who recently underwent a type of surgery called augmentation cystoplasty and speaks of something called an Indiana pouch. Evidently, this surgery was required as treatment for a neurogenic bladder. I have asked her permission to post this information because she is/I am seeking information regarding any effect this surgery or treatment might have on the client’s emotional state. Is there any hormonal change as a result of this type of surgery/treatment or anything else we might want to be aware of psychologically, physiologically or behaviorally?

Part of the problem in defining what has been called Gulf War syndrome is that the symptoms are so varied. The most common is chronic fatigue, which affects over half of syndrome sufferers. Lupus and scleroderma are other autoimmune conditions that have manifested. Other conditions include lymphoma, cardiac ailments, memory loss, leukoencephalopathy, and neurological diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. Severe aches and joint pains are common, and other frequently reported symptoms are dizziness, nausea, stomach pains, light sensitivity, intense anxiety, breathing difficulty, muscle spasms, diarrhea, blurred vision, inexplicable skin rashes, hives, bleeding gums, eye redness, night sweats, and acute migraine-like headaches.

Sexual and urination disorders plague numerous victims, while up to 25 percent of syndrome patients have experienced hair loss, and 25 percent have acquired multiple chemical sensitivities, which means they have become allergic to a wide variety of chemical substances and can consequently have severe reactions to even the most common household items. The Gulf War exposed our service people not just to enemy fire, but to a new and highly toxic mix of environmental hazards. The most publicized has been the fumes from Iraqi chemical weapons. For five years after the war, the Pentagon denied that any of our troops had been exposed to these poisons.

In 1996, however, the government admitted that some of our troops had been exposed to the nerve gas sarin when the Americans blew up an Iraqi ammunitions depot in the town of Kamisiyah right after the war’s conclusion. The number of our troops estimated by the government to have been exposed to sarin grew, over the year, from a few hundred to almost 100,000, about a seventh of our people in the conflict. The latest news is that a second Iraqi ammunition depot, in Ukhaydir, may have been an additional source of poisonous fumes, from mustard and nerve gas.

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