A  A  A   Print
Gulf War SyndromeSíndrome de la Guerra del Golfo

Gulf War Syndrome

What is Gulf War syndrome?

Gulf War syndrome is a widely used term to refer to the unexplained illnesses occurring in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War.

What are the symptoms of Gulf War syndrome?

The following are the most common symptoms of Gulf War syndrome. However, each person experiences symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue

  • Musculoskeletal pain

  • Cognitive problems

  • Skin rashes

  • Diarrhea

Symptoms of Gulf War syndrome may resemble other medical conditions. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis. Symptoms continue to pose a frustrating problem for affected veterans and their doctors. Despite extensive research, the cause of the syndrome remains unexplained.

How many veterans are impacted by the Gulf War syndrome?

According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 2013, about one-third of Gulf War veterans suffer from chronic multisymptom illness (CMI), which is a series of symptoms that cannot be medically explained. 

What are the possible causes of Gulf War syndrome?

Possible causes include:

  • Chemical warfare agents, particularly nerve gas, or pyridostigmine bromide, which was given as a preventive measure to soldiers likely to be exposed to chemical warfare agents.

  • Psychological factors, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans with Gulf War syndrome symptoms have high rates of accompanying psychiatric disorders.

  • Other chemical agents, such as smoke from oil well fires, pesticides, depleted uranium or exposure to solvents and corrosive liquids, used during repair and maintenance.

What is the treatment for Gulf War syndrome?

While there is no specific treatment for Gulf War syndrome, research suggests than an approach called cognitive-behavioral therapy may help patients with nonspecific symptoms syndromes lead more productive lives by actively managing their symptoms.

On behalf of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the IOM conducted a study and released a report recommending that for veterans who are experiencing symptoms related to CMI, an integrated, system-wide, long-term management approach should be implemented.

Research into Gulf War syndrome, which remains controversial, is taking place in research centers around the country. Please consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this condition. 

 
Today's Interactive Tools

The third-party content provided in the Health Library of phoebeputney.com is for informational purposes only and is not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. If you or your child has or suspect you may have a health problem, please consult your primary care physician. If you or your child may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 or other emergency health care provider immediately in the United States or the appropriate health agency of your country. For more information regarding site usage, please visit: Privacy Information, Terms of Use or Disclaimer.

Follow us online:

© 2014 Phoebe Putney Health System  |  417 Third Avenue, Albany, Georgia 31701  |  Telephone 877.312.1167

Phoebe Putney Health System is a network of hospitals, family medicine clinics, rehab facilities, auxiliary services, and medical education training facilities. Founded in 1911,
Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital (the flagship hospital) is one of Georgia's largest comprehensive regional medical centers. From the beginning, Phoebe's mission and vision
has been to bring the finest medical talent and technology to the citizens of Southwest Georgia, and to serve all citizens of the community regardless of ability to pay.