Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Although your symptoms may prompt you to visit your family doctor or a general practitioner, you'll likely be referred to a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive system (gastroenterologist) to diagnose and treat Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. You also may be referred to an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in treating cancer.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. When you make the appointment, let your doctor's staff know if you take any medications. Certain acid-reducing drugs, such as proton pump inhibitors, can alter the results of some tests used to diagnose Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. However, don't stop taking these medications without consulting your doctor.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes. Also write down what you know of your family's medical history.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements you're taking.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

For Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, some basic questions to ask include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need to confirm the diagnosis? How should I prepare for those tests?
  • What is the standard treatment for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
  • Are there any other options?
  • What course of action do you recommend?
  • Are there dietary restrictions I need to follow?
  • Do I need to see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative for the medication you're prescribing for me?
  • Are there websites you recommend to learn more about Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
  • Are any other medical problems more likely to occur because I have Zollinger-Ellison syndrome?
  • How often do I need to come back for follow-up appointments?
  • What's my prognosis?

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:

  • When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
  • Have your symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, improves your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, worsens your symptoms?
  • Have you ever been told you have a stomach ulcer? How was it diagnosed?
  • Have you or has anyone in your family ever been diagnosed with multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I?
  • Have you or has anyone in your family been diagnosed with parathyroid, thyroid or pituitary problems?
  • Have you ever been told you have high blood calcium?
Oct. 11, 2012