What is Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS)?

Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder in which your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. Weakness and tingling in your extremities are usually the first symptoms. These sensations can quickly spread, eventually paralyzing your whole body. In its most severe form, Guillain-Barre syndrome is a medical emergency requiring hospitalization.

The exact cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it is often preceded by an infectious illness such as a respiratory infection or the stomach flu. Luckily, Guillain-Barre syndrome is uncommon, affecting only 1 or 2 people per 100,000.

There’s no known cure for Guillain-Barre syndrome, but several treatments can ease symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness. Most people recover from Guillain-Barre syndrome, though some may experience lingering effects from it, such as weakness, numbness or fatigue.

Diagnosing or Testing for Guillain-Barré Syndrom

The key to managing Guillain-Barré syndrome is early diagnosis so you can get the care you need. Guillain-Barré is diagnosed based on symptoms and  results of some specific tests. Usually a  neurologist will perform an examination, review your medical history and talk with you about your symptoms.

There are a couple of tests the doctor uses to help diagnose Guillain-Barré. The most Common are Spinal Tap/ Lumbar Puncture and electromyography and nerve conduction studies (EMG testing)


MAYO Clinic, Web MD

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