The NET Alliance™ and Novartis Oncology continue their commitment to improving knowledge and management of neuroendocrine tumors, and empowering patients to be more informed advocates.

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Know your disease 

Night time diarrhea is an important clue for doctors that you may have a carcinoid or gastrointestinal NET.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about night time diarrhea and any other symptoms you have. Keep notes about new symptoms or changes in your symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms at every visit.

What are symptoms caused by GI NET (carcinoids)?

Symptoms you might have

Some gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors, known as GI NET, cause symptoms because they make large amounts of hormones. Others cause symptoms when they grow and spread (metastasize).

Neuroendocrine tumors that release hormones are sometimes called functional.

Functional neuroendocrine tumors in your GI tract are more commonly seen in the small intestine. They may cause symptoms like

  • Turning red and feeling warm in your face or neck (flushing)
  • Diarrhea
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Heart disease
  • Stomach pain
Doctors usually call functional neuroendocrine tumors in the digestive system “carcinoids.”

Neuroendocrine tumors that do not release hormones are sometimes called nonfunctional.

Nonfunctional neuroendocrine tumors in your GI tract are usually found in the small intestine, appendix, colon, or rectum. They may cause symptoms such as pain as the tumor grows.

Carcinoid syndrome

Carcinoid syndrome occurs when a gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumor releases extreme amounts of hormones, such as serotonin. This may result in a variety of symptoms. Some people with gastrointestinal neuroendocrine tumors have some or all of the symptoms of carcinoid syndrome.

Serotonin is a hormone made by certain cells in the body, mostly in the GI tract (digestive system). Serotonin helps with various functions, such as digestion.

The symptoms caused by carcinoid syndrome usually become more noticeable when your neuroendocrine tumor starts to grow or spread (metastasize).

Symptoms caused by carcinoid syndrome include

  • Turning red and feeling warm in your face or neck (flushing). This usually occurs without sweating
  • Diarrhea, especially at night
  • Abdominal pain
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid or abnormal heart rate
  • Skin lesions or discolored patches

Know your disease 

Night time diarrhea is an important clue for doctors that you may have a carcinoid or gastrointestinal NET.

Be sure to talk to your doctor about night time diarrhea and any other symptoms you have. Keep notes about new symptoms or changes in your symptoms. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your symptoms at every visit.