Ménétrier's disease: Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Ménétrier’s disease is a rare chronic condition in which an overgrowth of mucous cells in your stomach wall causes rugae to enlarge, forming giant folds. It is also called hypoproteinemic hypertrophic gastropathy.

If you have Ménétrier’s disease, too much mucus will be released by the mucous cells in enlarged rugae. Then, proteins will leak from the blood into the stomach, leading to a shortage of protein in the blood, which is known as hypoproteinemia.

In the United States, less than 200,000 people suffer from this condition.

Symptoms

Pain in the upper middle part of the abdomen is the most common symptom of Ménétrier’s disease. In addition, people with the condition may also have:

  • Nausea and frequent vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Malnutrition
  • Low levels of protein in the blood
  • Swelling of the face, abdomen, limbs, and feet due to low levels of protein in the blood
  • Anemia

Causes

The exact cause of Ménétrier’s disease is still unknown, but it is believed that, in most cases, this condition is acquired rather than inherited.

According to studies, a protein called transforming growth factor – alpha (TGF-α), Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection and infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) seem to have association with Ménétrier’s disease. More researches need to be done to provide more related information.

Diagnosis

To diagnose Ménétrier’s disease, doctors usually take a patient’s medical and family history and perform a physical exam. After that, a computerized tomography (CT) scan, an upper GI endoscopy and a biopsy of stomach tissue may be used to further confirm the diagnosis. Doctors may order blood tests to check for infection with H. pylori or CMV as well.

Treatment

Treatment for Ménétrier’s disease may involve medications, IV protein, blood transfusions, and surgery.

  • Medications

Anticancer medication cetuximab (Erbitux) may be prescribed. This medication can not only block the activity of the epidermal growth factor receptor but also decrease the thickness of the stomach wall from the overgrowth of mucous cells. Researchers keep conducting studies to find out how effective this medication is. Besides, medications that can relieve nausea and abdominal pain may also be prescribed.

If you also have H. pylori or CMV infection, treatment of the infection may help improve your condition. Antibiotics are prescribed to kill H. pylori. Considering that some strains of H. pylori are resistant to certain antibiotics, the doctor will use different antibiotics. Antiviral medications that can slow down the virus reproduction will be used to treat CMV infection.

  • Intravenous protein and blood transfusions

If you are malnourished or anemic, your doctor may recommend an IV treatment of protein and a blood transfusion. After undergoing treatment of protein and a blood transfusion, most children who have Ménétrier’s disease, as well as CMV infection, can fully recover.

  • Surgery

If you experience significant protein loss because of severe Ménétrier’s disease, you may need surgery to remove part of all of the stomach, which is called gastrectomy.


Keyword: Ménétrier’s disease.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.