Our Gastroenterology Blog

Posts for tag: Pancreatitis

By Digestive Health Associates Endoscopy
August 25, 2021
Tags: Pancreatitis  
PancreatitisThe pancreas is an organ in the digestive system that lies behind the stomach and is responsible for producing insulin, as well as a host of other digestive enzymes and hormones. The pancreas plays a key role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and digestion; however, if the pancreas releases these enzymes prematurely, this can irritate and inflame the pancreas, leading to a condition known as pancreatitis.
 
What are the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis?

Symptoms will vary depending on whether you are dealing with acute or chronic pancreatitis. If you are dealing with acute pancreatitis you are likely to experience,
  • Upper abdominal pain that may radiate to the back
  • Pain that gets worse after eating (especially when consuming a high-fat diet)
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Increased or rapid heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
People who experience several acute episodes of pancreatitis can develop enough damage that it becomes as serious as chronic pancreatitis. Those with chronic pancreatitis will also experience pain in the upper abdomen as well as unexpected weight loss or oily stools.
 
What causes pancreatitis?

There are many reasons people may develop pancreatitis. Certain risk factors include:
  • Gallstones
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Abdominal injury
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Undergoing abdominal surgery
  • Family history of pancreatitis
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol (particularly high triglycerides)
  • High calcium levels (hypercalcemia)
How is pancreatitis treated?

How your gastroenterologist decides to treat your pancreatitis will depend on the severity and type of pancreatitis you are dealing with. Mild or acute forms of pancreatitis may be improved through simple dietary changes (a low-fat diet) or antibiotics and pain medications.

For severe or chronic cases of pancreatitis, patients may need to be hospitalized where they will need to undergo fasting until the inflammation goes away. Sometimes surgery is necessary to remove the gallbladder if gallstones are the cause of your inflammation. Surgery can also remove diseased regions of the pancreas.
 
If you are dealing with persistent or severe abdominal pain you must seek immediate medical attention even if you’re not sure if you’re dealing with pancreatitis. If you suspect that your symptoms could be due to pancreatitis, a gastroenterologist will be the best specialist to turn to for a diagnose and treatment plan.
By Digestive Health Associates Endoscopy
June 14, 2019
Category: Gastroenterology
Tags: Pancreatitis  

The pancreas is an organ that we don’t often give much thought to and yet it’s quite important. After all, it is responsible for releasing digestive enzymes into the small intestines to help with digestion. It is also instrumental in releasing both insulin and glucagon into the blood, which influences metabolism and determines how effectively the body turns food into energy; however, certain lifestyle choices and health problems could lead to an attack of pancreatitis.

What is pancreatitis?

This condition is rather rare and occurs when the pancreas is inflamed. In most cases, this condition is acute and can be treated; however, sometimes it can become chronic. Damage to the pancreas will occur if the digestive enzymes are activated before the reach the intestines, causing the enzymes to destroy the pancreas.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis often causes upper abdominal pain that may get worse after eating and may radiate to your back. Your abdomen may be tender to the touch and you may feel nausea. Sometimes these symptoms are accompanied by a fever and rapid pulse.

Those who have chronic pancreatitis will notice the same abdominal pain that’s present in acute cases, as well as oily stools (known as steatorrhea) and unintended weight loss. If you are dealing with any kind of persistent abdominal pain it’s important to schedule an appointment with your gastroenterologist. If the pain is severe or makes it difficult to stand up straight, you need immediate medical attention.

Of course, there are many conditions and injuries that can lead to upper abdominal pain, so it’s important that you consult your doctor as soon as possible. If it is pancreatitis, this will often require hospitalization, so this requires immediate medical attention.

What causes pancreatitis?

There are certain conditions and habits that can increase your likelihood for developing pancreatitis including:

  • Gallstones
  • Smoking
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • High calcium levels (usually occurs in those with hyperparathyroidism)
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Alcoholism
  • Pancreatic cancer

Sometimes the cause of pancreatitis is unknown. However, it is possible for this condition to lead to more serious complications such as an infection, diabetes or kidney failure if it isn’t properly treated.

How is pancreatitis treated?

As we mentioned above, most people with pancreatitis will need to be hospitalized. During hospitalization, the treatment plan will include:

  • Fasting for a couple of days (this will help your pancreas recover)
  • Pain medications
  • IV fluids

Once we have addressed your condition, we will then try to find the root cause. Based on the cause we may recommend additional treatment or surgeries including:

  • Surgery to remove obstructions of the bile duct
  • Pancreas surgery to drain fluid and remove diseased tissue
  • Gallbladder removal (if gallstones caused your pancreatitis)
  • Quitting alcohol or finding an alcohol treatment program

If you are dealing with unexplained abdominal pain or other digestive problems it’s important that you turn to a gastroenterologist who can figure out what’s going on. Call to schedule an appointment today.