Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome

Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome is a very rare digestive conditions (1-9/100,000 prevalence) whereby tumors form in the pancreas or duodenum.  These tumors secrete a hormone called gastrin which promotes excessive acid secretion by the stomach.  The vast majority with this condition (up to 95 percent) also have peptic ulcers.  Usually manifesting itself between the ages of 30 and 60, up to 70 percent of those with ZES have malignant tumors that slowly spread to the lymph nodes and the liver.  Ulcers that are associated with this condition are difficult to treat with conventional ulcer medication or surgery.

While not every person with Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome has syndromes, when they do, they include:

  • Burning pain in the abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding from the stomach
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue

Western Treatments

ZES is treated by reducing the amount of acid that the stomach produces.  Medication called proton pump inhibitors are usually prescribed.  These include lansorazole (Prevacid), omeprazole (Prilosec), pantoprazole (Protonix), esomeprazole (Nexium), and rabeprazole (Aciphex), all of which slow down acid production allowing ulcers to heal.

Another type of medication used is called H2-blockers such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), and ranitidine (Zantac).  These are not as effective at reducing acid production.

Surgery is sometimes needed to address peptic ulcers or to remove the gastrinoma.  Only about 30 to 40 percent of patients who undergo the surgery are cured.  In some cases, radiation and chemotherapy may be used to address malignant tumors.

A TCM Approach

The following herbal combination (mixture A) may be useful in resolving tumors naturally.  It has been successfully used in the treatment of uterine fibroids but must be used for six month or longer.

  • Crampbark root bark
  • Cinnamon twig
  • Achyranthes root
  • Red Peony root
  • Moutan root bark
  • Nine other herbs

For stronger blood circulatory properties, combine mixture A with the following (mixture B):

  • Kirin Ginseng root
  • Tang Kuei root
  • Sparganium rhizome
  • Zedoaria rhizome
  • Tienchi root
  • Six other herbs

With a fever and a heat pattern, combine mixture A with the following (mixture C):

  • Patrinia herb
  • Sargentodoxa stem
  • Cyathula root
  • Melia fruit
  • Moutan root bark
  • Eight other herbs

Lastly, the following formula helps control acid if standard medication produces side effects:

  • Poria sclerotium
  • Coix seed
  • Barley Shen Qu
  • Magnolia bark
  • Angelica root
  • Nine other herbs

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