Although your symptoms may prompt you to visit your primary care doctor, 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 or H2 antagonists, 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's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- Is there any other explanation possible for my symptoms?
- What tests do I need to confirm the diagnosis? How should I prepare for those tests?
- What treatments are available for Zollinger-Ellison syndrome, and which do you recommend for me?
- Are there dietary restrictions I need to follow?
- How often do I need to come back for follow-up appointments?
- What's my prognosis?
- 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?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
Oct. 17, 2015
- When did you begin experiencing symptoms?
- Do you have symptoms all the time, or do they come and go?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- Does anything make your symptoms better?
- Have you noticed anything that makes your symptoms worse?
- 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 1?
- 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?
- Greenberger NJ, et al. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Endoscopy. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/digestive-diseases/zollinger-ellison-syndrome/Pages/facts.aspx. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Cameron JL, et al, eds. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. In: Current Surgical Therapy. 11th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.; Saunders Elsevier: 2014. http://www.accessmedicine.com. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Goldfinger SE. Zollinger-Ellison syndrome (gastrinoma): Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed Aug. 2, 2015.
- Krampitz GW, et al. Current management of the Zollinger-Ellison syndrome. Advances in Surgery. 2013;47:59.
- FDA Drug Safety Communication: Possible increased risk of fractures of the hip, wrist, and spine with the use of proton pump inhibitors. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm213206.htm. Accessed Aug. 5, 2015.