Pancreas Divisum - Symptoms

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What are pancreas divisum symptoms?

Most individuals born with pancreas divisum experience no symptoms throughout life, will remain undiagnosed, and will not require treatment. A small number of patients with pancreas divisum will experience repeated episodes of pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can cause abdominal pain as well as more severe complications. Some patients with pancreas divisum may develop chronic abdominal pain without pancreatitis.

Doctors are not certain how pancreas divisum causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis. One theory is that the minor papilla is too narrow to adequately drain the digestive juices in the dorsal portion of the pancreas. The backup of the digestive juices elevates the pressure in the minor duct that causes abdominal pain and pancreatitis. Others believe that there must be other factors above and beyond pancreas divisum that predispose a certain population of patients to develop pancreatitis. Research continues in order to determine the exact relationship.

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Comment from: Bud, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: April 14

I had many serious attacks of pain as I got older. I was hospitalized six times with the pain. The treatments I received in the hospital were basically pain killers. I was told that my gall bladder had to be removed as it was the cause of my pain. Out it went, and after about six months the pain returned. I was referred to a specialist who went in and confirmed the pancreas divisum. He placed me on an enzyme pill which I take with each meal. He also said that only as a last resort was I to allow any surgeon to mess with the divisum. I have not had any pain for five years while taking the enzyme pills. Note: only take enzyme pills made here in the US. Enzyme pills are not reviewed or regulated by the FDA!

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Comment from: Janb, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 11

I began having severe attacks of abdominal pain in my mid-fifties which were random but debilitating. Everything pointed to pancreatitis but since I had none of the risk factors, that diagnosis was disregarded. I had my gallbladder removed which actually exacerbated the problem. After ten years I presented with fatty stool which convinced my physician enough for him to order an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography). This verified the diagnosis and the cause was attributed to pancreas divisum. I underwent a procedure to place stents in my pancreatic ducts and found immediate relief. After a year of lessening attacks I have been attack free for five years and no longer require the enzymes.

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