Pancreatitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 12/15/2016

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.

Pancreatitis causes

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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/15/2016

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