Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is a disease caused by the inflammation of the pancreas. A pancreas may be damaged when the digestive enzymes are activated before they are released to the duodenum, causing the untimely lyses of the pancreas. Pancreatitis may occur as acute, meaning it appears suddenly and lasts for days, or as chronic pancreatitis, occurring over a span of several years.

Pancreatitis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Pancreatitis may be caused by a gallstone which may block the duct outlet, chronic alcohol use, trauma, medications, infections or tumor. Acute pancreatitis will be heralded with severe abdominal pain with fever, nausea, and vomiting. Chronic pancreatitis may present with diarrhea, oily stools, and weight loss.

Imaging diagnostic techniques like ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging and endoscopy may demonstrate acute pancreatitis. Blood test for alkaline phosphatase may be greatly elevated, especially in acute pancreatitis.

Pancreatitis Treatments

The treatment of pancreatitis usually requires hospitalization. Once the inflammation is controlled, physicians will treat the underlying cause of pancreatitis as well. These are the different treatment modalities for the pancreatitis which may include the following.

Conservative Management – During hospitalizations, individuals are usually asked to fast until the inflammation of the pancreas subsides. The severe pain may be controlled by strong intravenous analgesics. An intravenous fluid may be needed to prevent dehydration.

Treatment for the Underlying Cause of Pancreatitis – Surgical procedures may be opted when there is a bile duct obstruction with gallstones. In some cases, the gallbladder may be removed (cholecystectomy). The pancreas may be dissected to remove dead tissues or relieve swelling with the drainage of fluid. Measures may also be taken to rid chronic alcoholism with those affected.  

Treatment with Chronic Pancreatitis – Pain management may go as far as nerve resection, if analgesics cannot control the disease. Pancreatic enzyme supplements may be given to assist in the breakdown of food into nutrients. A dietitian or nutritionist may modify one’s diet to low fat and high caloric meals.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.