Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, a gland located behind the stomach that produces insulin and other enzymes that aid digestion. Abdominal pain (sometimes described as stomach pain) is the main symptom of pancreatitis, but other symptoms can include
Symptoms and signs of pancreatitis may range from mild to severe and even life-threatening. The pain of pancreatitis typically gets worse after eating. Changes in stool color or consistency can also accompany chronic pancreatitis, as well as the presence of unusually foul-smelling stools. With chronic pancreatitis, weight loss and nutritional problems may result.
The causes of pancreatitis include alcohol consumption, gallstones, high triglyceride levels, abdominal injury, abdominal surgery, and certain medications. Other causes include pancreatic cancer, cystic fibrosis, high levels of calcium in the blood, infection, and cigarette smoking.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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