Search Our Site:  
Share this article:   Bookmark and Share
Custom Search

Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) Signs and Symptoms

Guillain-Barre Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder of the nervous system that causes muscular problems. It is similiar to Multiple Sclerosis in that the body’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath around the nerves, or even the actual nerves. As with MS, the damaged myelin sheath leaves muscles unable to respond properly to brain signals.

When the damage is severe enough, nerve conduction is blocked, resulting in paralysis. Unlike many of the chronic, autoimmune diseases, the fatality rate of Guillain-Barre Syndrome is 5 – 10 percent.  We have put together a list of signs and symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome below.

The Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome include:

  • weakness, tingling and loss of sensation in the legs that progresses up to the arms
  • loss of reflexes
  • dysphagia – difficulty speaking or putting words in order
  • facial weakness
  • elevated spinal fluid protein (which reflects the extent of damage to the spinal nerves)
  • fluctuations of heart rate, temperature and blood pressure
    pain in the buttocks and lower back
  • urinary difficulties

Guillain-Barre Syndrome affects both men and women, but it is more likely to strike men. It can strike at any age, though the most common time is from ages 15 to 35 and 50 to 75. It has been closely asociated with vaccinations, mild infections, and stress.

Guillain-Barre Diagnosis

There is no specific test to formally diagnose GBS.  A variety of tests are often done to rule out other conditions, such as a spinal tap, EKG, and nerve conduction tests.

Guillain-Barre comes on suddenly, can be debilitating, and subsides with proper treatment.

Books for People With Signs and Symptoms of Guillain-Barre Syndrome

Guillain-Barre Syndrome: From Diagnosis to Recovery (American Academy of Neurology)
Gareth J. Parry
A First Step – Understanding Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Brian S. Langton

Up from the Abyss: A journey of personal redemption from the ravages of Guillain-Barrè syndrome
Italo Giovanni Savella
The Darkness Is Not Dark: Overcoming Guillain-Barre Syndrome
Regina R Roth

What Causes Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

  • Many Times, GBS Follows an Infection Such as Campylobacter Jejuni, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr Virus, Mycoplasma Pneumoniae, or the Herpes Virus (Chicken Pox or Zoster)
  • Infections Due to Surgery or Transfusions
  • Vaccinations Such as Flu, Rabies, Hepatitis B, MMR, DPT, Strep, and More
  • Lymphomas
  • Pregnancy
  • Some Drug,s Such as Heroin and Penicillamine
  • Toxic Chemical Exposure, Such as Formaldehyde

Why Detoxification is Important

If there is one thing that seems to be true, it is that autoimmune disease patients have a toxic body. The more discomfort you are in, the more pain you are feeling, the sicker and more toxic you are. Inflammation and irritation are classic signs of a toxic body. Although environmental toxins are not the only cause of the autoimmune process, it may be what is the root cause of the other factors such as candida, viral or bacterial infections.

Guillain Barre Resources

General Patient Resources

  • GBS/CIPD Foundation International

Serving patients with support, education and research

  • MD Junction

A community of patients, family members and friends dedicated to dealing with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, together.

  • Experience Project

Anonymously connect with people who share your experiences– like those who say ‘I Am a Guillain Barre Syndrome Survivor’. Read hundreds of true stories, share your own story anonymously, get feedback and comments, chat in the discussion forum, help others, meet new friends, and so much more– all free.

  • Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Paralysis resource center.

Medical Resources

  • Mayo Clinic

Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, treatment of this potentially deadly muscle disorder.

  • Medline Plus

A service of the National Institute of Health.

  • Web MD

Discusses symptoms, treatment overviews, and tests and exams.