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Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome and Peptic Ulcer - Topic Overview

Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is a rare condition in which tumors called gastrinomas form in the pancreas or part of the upper small intestine (duodenum). The tumors secrete large amounts of a hormone called gastrin. Gastrin signals the stomach to produce more acid.

  • At some point during their lives, 90% to 95% of people with Zollinger-Ellison syndrome develop peptic ulcers, usually in the upper small intestine (duodenum).
  • Ulcers that occur in people with this syndrome are often hard to cure but usually can be controlled with a high dose of a proton pump inhibitor.

This syndrome is extremely rare, but it may be considered as a cause when a person has severe or repeated peptic ulcers.

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Picture of the Anus

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  • Zollinger-Ellison syndrome may occur at any age, but the symptoms are more likely to appear between the ages of 30 and 60.
  • In up to two-thirds of people with this syndrome, the tumors are cancerous (malignant) and may spread to the lymph nodes and liver.

The main treatment for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome is taking proton pump inhibitors and removing the tumors causing the overproduction of acid. If this surgery is successful, you will no longer need to take medicines.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 04, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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