Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a complicated condition whereby a single or multiple tumors referred to as gastrinomas, form either in the pancrease or the duodenum, the upper part of the small intestines.
The tumors produce large amounts of gastrin, a hormone that causes the stomach to produce excess acid which may lead to peptic ulcers. It is however a rare disease and can occur at any point in life.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Drugs
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Symptoms
Early detection and treatment of varying diseas is very important. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may be highlighted by a number of symptoms or signs that may take varying time durations to get noticed. They include;
- Abdominal pain
- sudden weight loss
- burning or aching of the upper abdomen
- reduced appetite
- Acid reflux
- bleeding in the digestive tract
However, it is important to visit your health care provider for an accurate diagnosis. This is because not all the above symptoms may highlight the presence of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. On the other hand, one should seek immediate medical attention from a qualified health care provider if any of these symptoms become too persistent or too severe
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Causes
The exact cause of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome has not been clearly established. However, the sequence of what happens towards the disease is well known. below are some of the shed causes;
- Normally, it is brought about by the formation of a tumor or multiple tumors in the pancrease, duodenum or the lymph nodes
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may also be caused by exccesive production of gastrin, which regulates the amount of acid produced the stomach. This acid may lead to diarrhea or peptic ulcers. On the other hand, the tumors may turn out to be cancerous. in such a situation, the cancer spreads to other parts of the body including nearing organs such as the liver.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Diagnosis
Diagnosis and treatment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is carried out by a doctor who specializes with conditions and diseases affecting the digestive system, also referred as a gastroenterologist. On the other hand, diagnosis can also done by a cancer specialist also referred to as an Oncologist. Diagnosis includes;
- Blood sample test;A doctor may also take a blood test to analyse your blood sample so as to establish whether you have high gastrin levels and the cause of such high levels. This way, a doctor is able to know whether the cause is tumors in the duodenum or the pancrease or as a result of another condition.
- The diagnosis may also involve testing the acidity of your stomach to be sure about the exact cause of high gastrin levels.
- Secretin stimulation test whereby an individual is injected with the hormone secretin. If one has Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, the gastrin levels will rise further after the injection.
- An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy or a biopsy may be used to have a close look at the tumors, or analyse a tissue from the stomach under a microscope.
- use of imaging studies to locate the tumors with ease.
Zollinger-Ellison syndrome Treatment
Tratment of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome involves treating both the tumors and the ulcers. However, removal of the tumor may alleviate the need for ulcer treatment.low are a number of ways used to treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome;
- Tumors may be removed surgically, however, it may prove hard to remove multiple tumors due to their small size or those that have spread to the liver.
- Cutting the blood supply to the tumors
- Debulking of a liver tumor
- Injecting drugs into the tumor to lighten cancer symptoms
- Having a liver transplant
- Use of chemotherapy to halt or slow the growth of the tumor.
- Excessive production of acid can also be controlled by using proton pump inhibitors.
- Surgeries can also be done to treat peptic ulcers by stopping them from bleeding or perforating holes in the walls of the duodenum.