Pancreatitis - Symptoms

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What are the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis causes upper abdominal pain which can range from mild to severe.

The pain may come on suddenly or it may develop gradually. Often, the pain will start or worsen after eating, which can also occur with gallbladder or ulcer pain. Abdominal pain tends to be the hallmark of acute pancreatitis. People with acute pancreatitis usually feel very ill.

Signs and symptoms of acute pancreatitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain that may radiate to the back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Worsening pain after eating
  • Tenderness to touch of the abdomen
  • Fever and chills
  • Weakness and lethargy

In chronic pancreatitis, abdominal pain also can be present, but it is often not as severe, and some people may not have any pain at all.

Signs and symptoms of chronic pancreatitis may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Foul smelling, oily stool
Return to Pancreatitis

See what others are saying

Comment from: Navyman, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: April 25

I got sick one evening at home, and dealt with the sweating, shakes, and pain for 3 days before my wife took me to the emergency room. I was immediately admitted and stayed there 5 days. My blood pressure upon arrival was 84/58 and I was having trouble standing. The pain in my abdomen was horrific! They hooked me up to a drip for pain management (morphine, I think) and started to hydrate me. I had been a heavy drinker for 10 years or so. I drank, generally, 10 to 15 beers a day, not proud of that. Anyway, I got feeling a bit better after the 5 days, and they let me go home. I worked for the next month to get my strength back. Now, I"m 2 years clean and sober, and I generally feel great, but I"m having some very familiar, very light pains in my abdomen right along my rib cage. I sure hope I don"t have another problem with pancreatitis, but I"m back to the doctor next week. Thanks for everyone for the stories. I actually convinced myself I"m not going to die tonight, anyway.

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Comment from: Addie, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: June 04

I am 20 years old and I got pancreatitis in October of last year. We still don"t know what caused my acute case (I thankfully don"t have chronic, at least, we don"t think so) but I"ve tried being healthier with eating and not eating gluten as I"m intolerant to it which is part of why I think this happened. I had been at work one night and I randomly started getting an ache in my side. I was concerned, but thought nothing of it. It got worse and worse before I went to the doctor that week as they fit me into their schedule. They found nothing and told me "I was thinking possibly pancreatitis but your lab tests don"t show it". I was scheduled for a CT scan that next week and sent home. That Friday I had eaten dinner from a bar one night with my dad and about an hour later, I got really bad pain in my stomach. It got so bad that I started to cry and felt sweaty and hot all over. I was in pain for 8 hours, unmoving and just rocking while holding my stomach, before my parents decided it was time to go to the emergency room (ER). Before we could leave, I started puking so we had to wait again before we could get going. I should have been admitted, but they sent me home with pain killers after giving me fluids, and told me it was pancreatitis. The next day, I ended up back in urgent care instead with a fever of 102 - 103, and the doctor there knew I should have been admitted but due to understanding how expensive bills are he did his best to keep me out. We gave me more fluids and pain killers which helped me feel better enough to stay home. I was out for a week or so, before I could start eating food again (as I"d been on a liquid diet) and before I could go to work. I"m really careful now, to make sure that I don"t have this happen again as it was a really, really bad experience.

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