Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach and close to the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) and in front of the spine. The pancreas secretes digestive juices into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. These digestive juices contain pancreatic enzymes that, along with bile

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Symptoms

Symptoms of pancreatitis include:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weight Loss

Risk Factors

Risk factors for developing pancreatitis include:

  • Gallstones
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • High triglyceride levels
  • High calcium levels
  • Certain medications
  • Certain autoimmune diseases
  • Hereditary
  • Idiopathic (unknown)

When to See a Doctor

Pancreatitis is serious and can lead to complications. If you have any symptoms you are concerned about or if your symptoms persist or recur, it’s time to see a doctor.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for pancreatitis vary depending on the form of the condition (acute or chronic) and may include any of the following:

  • Hospitalization for acute pancreatitis
  • Medications to lower excessively high triglyceride levels
  • Follow a special diet, low in fat
  • Surgery for gallbladder removal if one has stones

Diagnostic Testing

The foremost diagnostic “test” for any condition is a thorough exam and consultation with a physician, including a review of your individual and family history. In addition, your physician may recommend any of the following tests or procedures, which may provide further diagnostic value:

Prevention

  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake
  • Smoking cessation

Learn More

Learn more about pancreatitis with resources from the National Institutes of Health

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