Would Esophogeal Reflux/Acid Reflux keep my son from passing MEPS for PJ's?


Jan 24, 2010
My son takes medicine for acid reflux on a daily basis. He takes no other medicine on a regular basis. Would this keep him from qualifying for the PJ physical?


Not as far as I know. Depends on what the medicine is -protonix?- and if there is a specific no-no written somewhere in the class III (flight physical).

I haven't ever heard of anyone being DQ'ed thanks to heartburn, but I haven't heard everything and I HAVE heard some ridiculous stuff.
First off, what the J above said. From a strictly med standpoint, unless the GERD has progressed to active bleeding or erosions, then I don't anticipate a problem with a flight level physical. But also bear in mind, stress is a big point in GERD. Can Jr manage the stress inherent in this job???? These are questions the young man himself has to deal with.
Sometimes in the practice where I work we see people who are looking for an expert medical opinion in order overrule workman's compensation docs in order to return to their jobs. We use this website as a reference at times. FWIW its a good resource.


"Irritation of the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract, including the esophagus, stomach and duodenum is a very common condition affecting over 25 million people in the US daily and up to 60 million Americans each month. There are 500,000 to 850,000 new cases each year in the US and over one million hospitalizations for these conditions each year. It affects persons of all ages. Medical evaluation and treatment cost Americans $2 billion in 1996 while indirect costs from lost wages and productivity were estimated at $500,000, 000. The range of symptoms spans from occasional irritation after eating a spicy meal to catastrophic bleeding and death from ulceration. Because of the spectrum of disease, airman/controllers using medication for these conditions may be required to demonstrate freedom from ulcers to maintain their medical certification. Most medications used to treat these diseases may be waived for use during aviation duties once the condition is controlled."
Thanks for the input. My son is currently at Grizzly Youth Academy and had his own abbreviated Indoc of Sorts for the first two weeks, with getting smoked with PT. He did ran out of meds for about a week, and though it was a bit uncomfortable for him, he did okay. The latest letter I got from my boy said they went on a three hour march with 35-45 lbs weight in his backpack. No, it is not indoc, but he is training to get ready for it! My son has the mental toughness and is working on the physical toughness. I was just concerned about the physical at this point.

Thank you,

How old is your son? I think based on what Im reading here:http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r40_501.pdf your son's condition may indeed be disqualifying factor.
If your son is on prescription medication for his GERD he should be sure to maintain as prescribed and not let it run out.

2–3. Abdominal organs and gastrointestinal system
a. Esophagus. Current or history of esophageal disease, including, but not limited to ulceration, varices, fistula,
achalasia, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) (530.81), or complications from GERD including stricture, or
maintenance on acid suppression medication, or other dysmotility disorders; chronic, or recurrent esophagitis (530.1), is
disqualifying. Current or history of reactive airway disease associated with GERD is disqualifying. Current or history
of dysmotility disorders, chronic, or recurrent esophagitis (530) is disqualifying. History of surgical correction for
GERD within 6 months is disqualifying. (P42 esophageal correction, P43 stomach correction and P45 intestinal
b. Stomach and duodenum.
(1) Current gastritis, chronic or severe (535), or non-ulcerative dyspepsia that requires maintenance medication is
(2) Current ulcer of stomach or duodenum confirmed by x-ray or endoscopy (533) is disqualifying.
(3) History of surgery for peptic ulceration or perforation is disqualifying.
c. Small and large intestine.
(1) Current or history of inflammatory bowel disease, including, but not limited to unspecified (558.9), regional
enteritis or Crohn’s disease (555), ulcerative colitis (556), or ulcerative proctitis (556), is disqualifying.
(2) Current or history of intestinal malabsorption syndromes, including, but not limited to post-surgical and
idiopathic (579), is disqualifying. Lactase deficiency is disqualifying only if of sufficient severity to require frequent
intervention, or to interfere with normal function
(3) 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 (787.91),
regardless of cause, persisting or symptomatic in the past 2 years, is disqualifying.
(4) Current or history of irritable bowel syndrome (564.1) of sufficient severity to require frequent intervention or to
interfere with normal function is disqualifying.
(5) History of bowel resection is disqualifying.
(6) Current symptomatic diverticular disease of the intestine is disqualifying.
d. Gastrointestinal bleeding. History of gastrointestinal bleeding (578), including positive occult blood (792.1) if the
cause has not been corrected, is disqualifying. Meckel’s diverticulum (751.0), if surgically corrected greater than 6
months prior, is not disqualifying.
My son is seventeen. He was only off of medication because he ran out. He takes omeprazole once a day to control acid reflux. Other then that, he is a healthy, strong willed kid willing to put his nose to the the grindstone and work hard for what he wants. He has never had any surgery or anything besides an ear infection or two when he was a toddler.

If he has a diagnosis of GERD or maintenance on acid supression medication, which Omeprazole is, he would be disqualified according to Army Regulation 40-501 which I believe is also utilized at MEPS for the Airforce. Im sure if I am incorrect someone who is in the know will be along to correct me.
Again if your son is on Omeprazole he should not discontinue unless instructed by his physician of course. Untreated GERD could lead to further problems such as Barrett's Esophagitis which is a premalignant condition.

2–3. Abdominal organs and gastrointestinal system
a. Esophagus. Current or history of esophageal disease, including, but not limited to ulceration, varices, fistula,
achalasia, or Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) (530.81), or complications from GERD including stricture, or
maintenance on acid suppression medication, or other dysmotility disorders; chronic, or recurrent esophagitis (530.1), is
There are lists of DQ med conditions etc... online, don't ask me where but I looked them up when I was looking to enlist.

Have you/your son spoken to a recruiter about his condition?
Is he working with a recruiter? They're the ones who will have this information handy.

If he is and they're trying to get him enlisted, then it's probably best to let the MEPS docs review his information and do the physical to make the determination on whether or not his condition will keep him from enlisting.

At worst he'll go to MEPS and they'll tell him "no" and can't get him a waiver. At least then he'll know for sure, instead of DQing himself before even trying.
AMR and Pardus are on the money and our esteemed PJ nailed it: if it isn't in the Class III flight physical then he shouldn't have an issue. A recruiter (stomp, stomp) would know.

And not to bust on Chop, but those are Army standards she's quoting. Every service has it's own standards, waiver processes, etc.
Totally different country, but someone wouldn't get in if they required ongoing medication down here. I take nexium for reflux myself, running out of meds sucks.
Has he had an endoscopy to figure out what is going on?
Man o MAN, has this one taken off!

I hate to be this guy- but I will.
Step 1- have your son find out if his condition is something that would stop him from doing what he wants (i.s. Pararescue). If that answer is "no it wouldnt stop me, and it's something i can deal with" then proceed to step 2.

Step 2- Talk to a recruiter. Ask him what the rule says, and be specific. THEN ASK TO READ THE REG WHERE HE FOUND THE RULE. Call me paranoid- but it's going to be an ass pain if you just take someone's word on it. When you find out what the rule says, and you read it, PRIOR to making any commitments, make your decision. Who knows? Maybe your son "magically" doesn't need the meds anymore, and subsequently doesn't declare the need in his enlistment paperwork. And if his deal is "uncomfortable at times" but not a "this condition prevents me from being able to complete the requirements in the Pararescue pipeline"- then maybe he can deal with it until he's in the pipeline and can see a flight doc about it and get the meds prescribed legally with ZERO impact on his overall wishes.

DISCLAIMER- I am not saying ignore a bona-fide medical problem/symptom, which is where an honest self assessment from your son and a very in depth sit down with the family doc comes in, prior to talking to any AF dudes. Or dudettes.

Now, I am not saying lie to anyone, but some simple planning on these types of things can get you a long way. Know the rules, know the regs, then find ways to bend them to your will. :)