- Radiates to your back or below the left shoulder blade
- Feels worse after eating, especially after having fatty foods
- Worsens on lying flat on the back
- Gets more severe and constant with time
Other signs and symptoms of pancreatitis include
- Loss of appetite
- Rapid heart rate
- Tenderness (pain worsens on touching the abdomen)
- Nutritional deficiencies (in chronic pancreatitis)
- Weight loss (in chronic pancreatitis)
What causes pancreatitis?
Normally, your pancreas secretes enzymes, but these enzymes get activated when they reach the stomach. When the enzymes get activated in the pancreas, they cause inflammation of the organ, and the condition is known as acute pancreatitis. If these enzymes keep getting activated frequently, it causes scarring of the pancreas in the long term. This results in chronic pancreatitis that causes frequent attacks of abdominal pain. Because of the scar tissues, the pancreas loses its functions and causes troubles with digestion.
The causes of pancreatitis include
- Abdominal surgery
- Hypertriglyceridemia (high triglyceride levels in the blood)
- Trauma to the abdomen
- Some medications
- Hyperparathyroidism (an overactive parathyroid gland)
- Cancer of the pancreas
- Cystic fibrosis
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (a surgical procedure used to treat gallstones)
Sometimes, doctors do not know what causes pancreatitis.
Certain risk factors may increase your risk of pancreatitis. These include
How is pancreatitis diagnosed
The doctor will take your complete medical history and perform a complete physical examination. To confirm the diagnosis of pancreatitis, they will order additional tests such as
- Blood tests: Serum triglycerides, serum lipase and serum amylase levels are typically elevated in pancreatitis.
- Stool tests: Examination of a sample of your stool may show fatty droplets. Some tests measure the amount of fat excreted in the stool. The test helps know if your pancreas is functioning properly.
- Ultrasonography: An abdominal ultrasound will reveal inflammatory changes in the pancreas. Gallstones may also be found in the gallbladder.
- Endoscopic ultrasound: The doctor will insert a long tube-like camera from a small incision into your abdomen to look for inflammation of any blockages in the pancreas.
- Other imaging tests: Computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans look at the extent of the inflammation in the pancreas and gallstones.
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How is pancreatitis treated
Acute pancreatitis or an acute attack of chronic pancreatitis is treated in the hospital in the following ways:
- Fasting for a few days: The doctor will ask you to avoid eating completely for a few days to allow your pancreas to recover. Later, they will initiate liquids and bland food.
- Intravenous (IV) fluids: These will ensure proper nutrition.
- Painkillers: The doctor will give you strong medications to control pancreatitis-related abdominal pain.
After you get stabilized, the doctor may recommend surgeries depending on the cause of your pancreatitis
- Surgery to remove obstructions in the bile duct (such as a calculus or stone)
- Cholecystectomy (surgery to remove the gallbladder)
- Surgery to remove the damaged tissue from the pancreas
- Surgery to block the nerves that cause pain from pancreatitis
Other treatments include
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Acute Pancreatitis. https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/181364-overview
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