Home > Causes of Pain > Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

By: Jody Ehrhardt - Updated: 4 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Pancreas Two Types Of Pancreatitis

The pancreas is an organ in the digestive system. Its job is to secrete digestive enzymes that aid in the breaking down of food into the small intestine. The enzymes are responsible for aiding the body in the digestion of carbohydrates fats, and proteins. Along with these enzymes, the pancreas is also responsible for releasing insulin into the bloodstream.

The Two Types of Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis is the medical term used to describe inflammation of the pancreas. In most cases this inflammation is a result of an abnormal function of the digestive enzymes. Normally, the digestive enzymes do not become active until they reach the small intestines. In some cases, however, the enzymes become active in the pancreas and begin breaking down the tissues of this organ. The reason that the enzymes act abnormally depends on the type of pancreatitis present.

Acute pancreatitis is a type of pancreas inflammation that comes on quickly and only lasts a relatively short period of time. This type of pancreatitis is usually caused by the presence of gallstones or by the excessive use of alcohol.

Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, does not resolve naturally and if left untreated can result in the destruction of the pancreas. A blocked pancreatic duct, cystic fibrosis, certain autoimmune conditions, hypercalcemia, hyperlipidemia, alcoholism, or hereditary factors usually cause this type of pancreas inflammation.

The Symptoms of Pancreatitis

The symptoms that accompany pancreatitis are dependent on which type of the condition is present. Acute pancreatitis symptoms include mild to severe pain in the upper abdomen, swelling of the abdomen, tenderness in the abdominal area, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes fever. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are abdominal pain that worsens after eating or drinking, nausea, vomiting, diabetes, and fatty stools.

As chronic pancreatitis progresses the symptom of abdominal pain usually subsides. This is because the pancreas is no longer functioning or producing digestive enzymes. If the pancreas becomes damaged enough the nerves in the area will not respond to the signal of pain.

Diagnosing Pancreatitis

The diagnostic process for pancreatistis depends on the type of the condition that is present. Blood tests are usually used to confirm acute pancreatitis because the blood levels of lipase and amylase are usually three times higher during an attack of pancreatistis. In some cases of acute pancreatitis the doctor may also order a CAT scan to check for inflammation of the pancreas and an ultrasound to check for the presence of gallstones.

In cases of suspected chronic pancreatitis doctors will run pancreatic function tests to determine the extent of pancreas damage. These tests will measure the levels of enzymes and insulin being produced and released by the pancreas. Other tests that can help diagnose chronic pancreatitis include ultrasonic imaging, CAT scans, blood tests, urine tests, and stool sample tests.

Treatment for Pancreatitis

Just as the causes, symptoms, and diagnosis techniques are different for each type of pancreatitis, so are the options for treatment. Acute pancreatitis can heal naturally so treatment is usually aimed at pain management and preventing complications. Common treatment options for acute pancreatitis include dietary changes, intravenous fluid replacement, and pain medication. However, if gallstones were to blame for the onset of the pancreas inflammation treatment will involve the removal of the stones.

Treatment options for chronic pancreatitis include pain management, dietary changes, medication, and surgery. Medications are usually prescribed for the management of pain but if the pain is very severe surgery may be needed to remove part of the pancreas or drain an enlarged pancreatic duct. Dietary treatment options include the restriction of fat from the diet and an increase in the amount of carbohydrates consumed. In cases where the pancreas is not producing enough digestive enzymes, pancreatic enzyme medication may also be prescribed to aid in digestion.

No matter which type of pancreatitis you are suffering from it is always a good idea to avoid the consumption of alcohol, to adhere to a healthy, low-fat diet, and to follow the treatment plan set forth by your doctor.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Frenchy
    Re: How Cauda Equina Syndrome Affects the Stomach
    @Cutter, Dont worry about what you speak of. It is impossible to balance your gut motility based on your…
    2 September 2018
  • Sjones
    Re: Symptoms of Stomach Migraines
    When I started menopause 8yesrs ago I had my first stomach attack. With me I start to sweat profusely then comes the pain so…
    26 May 2018
  • Kutter
    Re: How Cauda Equina Syndrome Affects the Stomach
    I have had cauda equina syndrome now for 10 years. For a considerable amount of that time I took…
    18 May 2018
  • Mavalis
    Re: Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
    I also have this chest pain and my heart is beating very fast and painfull and the other thing is that my left side breast it pains.i…
    15 May 2018
  • Keshy
    Re: Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
    I was diagnosed of gastric ulcer after I went for an endoscopy. I have used intravenous rabeprazole and now am using ulsakit. But I…
    28 April 2018
  • Mark
    Re: Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
    Hello guys, first all of you have to visit gi. And done ugd, then only Dr have to came to know what happened inside your stomach. Yes…
    22 April 2018
  • Gloria
    Re: What is Thickening of the Bowel?
    I had a virtual colonoscopy and was told I had a thickened left colon. I have acute bouts of lower left abdominal pain which…
    18 April 2018
  • BABY GIRL TN
    Re: What is Thickening of the Bowel?
    HI CAN SOME BODY TELL ME WHAT MILD SMALL BOWEL VERSUS IN THICENING RELATED TO UNDERDISTENTION MEAN?
    15 April 2018
  • TummyTrouble
    Re: Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
    Princess gold - Your Question:I av ulcer and I feel tiredness, dizzy, pain under my left breast ? Is it still a sign of ulcer ?
    27 March 2018
  • Princess gold
    Re: Symptoms Of Peptic Ulcers
    I av ulcer and I feel tiredness, dizzy, pain under my left breast ? Is it still a sign of ulcer ?
    27 March 2018
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the TummyTrouble website. Please read our Disclaimer.