What is Guillain Barre Syndrome? What could be the Guillain Barre Syndrome cause? Is there a Natural Treatment for Guillain Barre Syndrome that may help? Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) is a very rare condition that impacts less than 20,000 people in the United States per year. Nerve damage and damage to the myelin sheath can occur along with weakness and tingling in your extremities.
What is Guillain Barre Syndrome?
This rare condition causes your body’s immune system to begin attacking your nerves. Specifically, the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system or the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.
The condition can lead to tingling and weakness in extremities when it’s mild or paralysis in serious cases.
In the most severe of cases, GBS will attack your nerves responsible for breathing, leaving a person unable to breathe on their own. Recovery is possible, and most people, even in the most severe cases, will recover from the damage.
Normally, the person will have some degree of weakness their entire lives, albeit most are able to return back to their normal routines.
What is the Guillain Barre Syndrome Cause?
Scientists are still unsure of what causes GBS in the first place. Approximately, 1 out of 100,000 people will suffer from this condition annually. There is no indication that men or women are more susceptible to GBS. Adults do seem more susceptible to GBS. The older the person, the higher the risk (it seems).
GBS is not inherited or contagious. Scientists theorize that GBS occurs after a person’s immune system fights an infection. It's thought that, in some cases, the virus or bacteria infecting the body may resemble nerve cells, causing the immune system to begin attacking the nerves.
Due to the nature of GBS, this syndrome is considered an autoimmune disorder.
Respiratory or gastrointestinal infections are often the trigger of GBS. After the infection subsides, it can be days or weeks, GBS will begin to present. There are also some instances where GBS is triggered after surgery, although this is less common.
In recent years, the Zika virus seems to have increased the number of cases worldwide.
Knowing the symptoms of GBS and seeking immediate medical attention is recommended. While some alternative treatments for Guillain Barre Syndrome can help, it’s important that traditional treatments are sought due to severe cases impacting a person's ability to breathe.
Guillain Barre Syndrome Symptoms
GBS is rapidly progressive, with over 90% of people reaching the highest level of weakness two weeks after their first symptoms appear. By the third week, these individuals are at their weakest point before the recovery period can begin.
Muscle weakness and tingling are the two main symptoms of GBS, but additional symptoms include:
- Eye and vision difficulty
- Difficulty swallowing or chewing
- Pins and needles in the hands and feet
- Severe pain at night
- Blood pressure and heart rate abnormalities
- Problems with coordination
- Bladder and/or digestive problems
GBS symptoms will progress rapidly and can quickly take a turn for the worse in a matter of hours. The condition can render some muscles unusable, and there have been cases of complete paralysis.
Since the condition is life-threatening in severe cases, it’s important to consult with a doctor immediately.
Difficulty or loss of the ability to breathe as well as heart-related issues can result in loss of life.
Traditional Treatments for Guillain Barre Syndrome
Doctors will first run a series of tests to try and pinpoint your condition. Diagnosis is done with a physical exam and one of many tests, which may include:
- Spinal tap
- Nerve conduction studies
Since there is no cure for GBS, there are only two main forms of traditional treatment to follow. The treatments are quite effective and will often help you manage your symptoms.
Doctors will monitor your condition. You may need to be admitted to the hospital if heart abnormalities occur or you begin having difficulty breathing. Treatment options at this state will vary and revolve around keeping you stable.
Otherwise, the main treatment options include:
- Plasma. Plasma exchange may be recommended. This treatment involves removing the blood, separating the plasma from the blood cells, then putting the blood cells back into the body. It is thought that the plasma that is manufactured will be beneficial because the current plasma may have antibodies that are leading to the immune response.
- Immunoglobulin Therapy. Donors with healthy antibodies will donate their immunoglobulin, which is then given to you in a transfusion. High levels of immunoglobulin can help block the antibodies that are causing your immune system to attack your nerves.
Medication to relieve pain and prevent blood clots are often administered.
Guillain Barre Syndrome Natural Treatment
GBS’s symptoms can be managed with the right treatment options unless the condition is severe and leads to difficulty breathing. Physical therapy may be recommended, but natural pain relievers are often the go-to option.
There are several different Guillain Barre syndrome natural treatment options available that may ease discomfort when paired with traditional treatment.
CBD is a natural pain reliever that has been shown to reduce nerve pain in rats and reduce inflammation. More research is needed in this area, but CBD has been shown to reduce pain and may also speed up the repair of the myelin sheath.
Peppermint and Lavender
Mixing peppermint and lavender essential oils and rubbing on areas of the body where the pain is experienced can help. Make sure to add the drops into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, as well as DMSO to amplify the effects.
Epsom salt baths, stretching and acupuncture may also help reduce pain.
GBS is a serious condition that most people recover from, but it needs to be monitored because progression is quick and severe cases can be deadly. Managing pain and seeking medical attention immediately is recommended.