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Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

What is Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome?

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is a rare condition that causes severe stomach ulcers. It is characterized by tumors (gastrinomas) in the body. The tumors most commonly form in the pancreas and duodenum. The tumors cause ulcers because they secrete a substance called gastrin, which stimulates excessive acid secretion by the stomach.

Ulcers associated with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome are often difficult to control. They are more persistent and less responsive to treatments than usual ulcers are.

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome may occur at any age, but it is more likely to appear between the ages of 30 and 60 years old.

Symptoms of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

The most common symptoms of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome are:

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • bleeding
  • fatigue and weakness
  • yellow fat in stool

How serious is Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome?

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is a serious condition. The tumors may spread to the lymph nodes and liver. The earlier it is detected, the better the chances of recovery.

Treatment options for Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome can be treated. If the tumors are big enough, the doctor may choose to perform surgery to remove the tumors. If the tumors are small or too numerous to be removed, the doctor will probably prescribe acid-reducing medication. The patient will probably have to take the medication for a long period of time.

In very severe cases of Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, the entire stomach may have to be surgically removed.

How is Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome Diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform blood tests, an upper endoscope examination and barium x-ray to determine if he thinks you have Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome.

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