What is Zollinger - Ellison syndrome?

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a condition that causes single, or multiple tumors to grow in or around the pancrea, or small intestine. They can also be found on the lymph nodes that are near the pancreas. These specific types of tumors are called gastrinomas and secrete a hormone called gastrin that causes the stomach to produce excess amounts of acid. When a person has a very acidic stomach they often develop peptic ulcers. It is quite rare for a person to develop Zollinger-Ellison syndrome and men are more likely to get it than women.

Sometimes people who are diagosed with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may have to undergo tumor removal and they usually always have to take medications to treat the stomach ulcers and reduce acid content in the stomach. People who have this condition often experience abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and anemia. There are also often many other symptoms that may be present.

The cause of Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is unknown.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Zollinger - Ellison syndrome is a disorder caused by neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas. In the disorder the pancreas over secretes gastrin which in turn causes the stomach to over secrete hydrochloric acid. This over secretion of gastric acid can cause stomach and small intestine ulcers. These ulcers cause bleeding into the gastrointestinal tract. The size of the ulcer determines the amount of bleeding.  Approximately half of the tumors caused by Zollinger - Ellison syndrome are malignant (cancerous).

Diagnosis of the disorder is made by visualizing the tumor by endoscopy. Partial or complete gastrectomy may be indicated for removal of the tumor. Other treatments include medications that help to decrease the amount of hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

giorgiana1976 | Student

Zollinger Ellison syndrome is a disorder which is characterized by the presence of multiple and recurrent ulcers in the stomach and duodenum. Zollinger Ellison syndrome is associated, especially, with a local inflammation, with diarrhea and a steatorrhea (the presence of fats in faeces).

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome entails sometimes, after several years, the appearance of metastases in the liver. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is either acquired and isolated, or the part of multiple endocrine neoplasia (a hereditary disease characterized by a hyper-function of several glands).

These rare disorders are caused by an excessive gastric acidity, that is caused by the hypersecretion of a digestive hormone, gastrin.

The medication brakes the acid secretion of the gastric cells, allowing the healing of the ulcers. It is envisaged the surgical removal of tumors, associated with chemotherapy, in case of metastases.