What Is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when there is inflammation of the gland located directly behind the stomach. This may last a few days or it may last several years depending on severity.

Pancreatitis takes 2 main forms acute and chronic:

Acute pancreatitis is an immediate pancreatic inflammation which only exists for a short amount of time. The intensity can vary from slight uneasiness to dangerously life threatening. Those experience severe pancreatitis may undergo tissue damage, tumor formation, which can result in other organs failing such as the vascular, cardiovascular, or kidney systems. The percentage of people who experience a severe case of pancreatitis is small and most patients diagnosed fully recover.

 

Chronic pancreatitis on the other hand is an inflammation that last much longer. It is most commonly found after experiencing acute pancreatitis or heavy use of alcohol over long periods of time. Symptoms for chronic pancreatitis may not show up immediately.

Most common symptoms of pancreatitis:

  1. Increase in heart rate
  2. Bloated and delicate abdomen
  3. Vomiting
  4. Nausea
  5. Fever
  6. Abdominal pain that can lead to back pain

Added symptoms of chronic pancreatitis:

  1. Constant pain in upper abdomen (sometimes crippling)
  2. Diarrhea
  3. Weight Loss
  4. Malabsorption
  5. In some cases, Diabetes

Treatments for pancreatitis:

If you are diagnosed with pancreatitis, you may be required to fast which will give your pancreas a break and allow it some time to recover. If you are experiencing overwhelming pain you may be prescribed pain medication. A doctor may also recommend in taking an IV (intravenous fluids). This will immediately help with dehydration (a common outcome of pancreatitis).

For those who do not show improvement with the before mentioned treatments, more serious remedies may be necessary. Gallbladder and pancreas surgery may be required to either drain fluids, or remove the gallbladder entirely due an excessive amount of gallstones.

Ways to help prevent pancreatitis:

Firstly, stop drinking any alcohol, alcohol induces pancreatitis so drinking any alcohol will worsen the condition. If you are a smoker, stop smoking. Switch to a low-fat diet. Drink more fluids, this will keep you hydrated since pancreatitis often causes malabsorption.