Pancreatitis - Describe Your Experience

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What were your symptoms of pancreatitis?

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What is 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. The pancreas secretes digestive juices, or enzymes, into the duodenum through a tube called the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic enzymes join with bile - a liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder - to digest food. The pancreas also releases the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones help the body regulate the glucose it takes from food for energy.

Normally, digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas do not become active until they reach the small intestine. But when the pancreas is inflamed, the enzymes inside it attack and damage the tissues that produce them.

Pancreatitis can be acute or chronic. Either form is serious and can lead to complications. In severe cases, bleeding, infection, and permanent tissue damage may occur.

Both forms of pancreatitis occur more often in men than women.

Illustration of the Pancreas

Return to Pancreatitis

See what others are saying

Comment from: RBlair, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 04

My pancreatitis was 2 years ago. I was having "stomach/bowel" issues (diarrhea and unbelievable gas) especially with fatty foods. I had an appointment with my doctor the next week. It started as a stomach ache and felt like I was going to vomit. I thought I had the start of a flu. The pain got worse fast and we rushed to the emergency room. They gave me morphine; it didn"t really touch the pain! I can"t imagine ever going through that type of pain again. I was in the ICU for 3 days and in the hospital a total of two weeks. I developed a pseudocyst and a blood clot in my stomach. My pancreatitis was caused by a gallstone. Eventually I went back for a week after another episode and had my gallbladder out. And I had another week with a fever, unknown cause. I lost 30 lbs in 2 months. I"m glad to say I have no issues now, except I am an insulin dependent diabetic. But life is good and I am doing fine with my new "normal'. Learnings - if you or a loved one has any stomach/bowel issues get checked out by a doctor.

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Comment from: adhregina, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: March 31

After 2 years, back in 1998, I finally was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis. My lower back pain often was unbearable and pain killers relieved it a little. I was discharging bile, fatty, gold in color and it stained the toilet. Relief only came when I had a large discharge. I was prescribed pancreatic enzymes for digestion, pain killers, and water pills for my distended stomach, and a few others. Tests had revealed that my portal veins were thrombosed, causing my pancreas to at first be acute. Shortly thereafter it went chronic. Also, scarring had occurred in my liver, thus cirrhosis. I having suffered with this for nearly 8 years now; only wish that I be pain free.

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