Pancreatitis Treatment

Overview

Pancreas are organs located just behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas produce digestive enzymes and hormones ; they also regulate the glucose level in the blood. Pancreatitis can be chronic or acute. In acute cases, the disease occurs suddenly and lasts for some days while chronic cases develop gradually over the years; severe cases can be life – threatening.

Pancreatitis is caused when the digestive enzymes secreted in the pancreas becomes active while still present in it; doing so irritates the lining of the pancreas and thus leads to is inflammation. Damaged pancreas cannot help on digestion and in turn cause diabetes. There are certain factors that contribute to pancreatitis especially acute pancreatitis such as abdominal injury or infection, alcoholism, smoking, gallstones, abdominal surgery, cystic fibrosis or pancreatic cancer. Some medications or treatments can also cause inflammation of the pancreas, for example, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), which is a pancreatitis pain treatment method for gallstones leads to pancreatitis. 

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Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis

  • Abdominal pain usually on the upper side that radiates to the back and it may feel worse after meals
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tenderness in the abdomen
  • Rapid breathing

Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Unexplained loss of weight
  • Fatigue
  • Foul smelling stools or oily stools

Pancreatitis causes unbearable pain. Visiting the doctor becomes necessary when the pain in
your abdomen is so severe that you cannot even sit comfortably. Delay in such cases is never
beneficial.

Treatment

Treatment varies according to age severity of pancreatitis. Firstly, the treatment is carried out to ease the pain and other chronic pancreatitis symptoms and then major treatments are provided to eliminate or control the pancreatitis causes that leads to the pancreas pain. 

Initial treatments comprise of the following: 

  • Fasting: Ample time is provided for the pancreas to recover. Once the inflammation subsides, one starts with liquid diets and slowly goes towards normal diet.
  • Pain medication is provided for relief
  • IV fluids are provided so that the body remains hydrated
Once the pancreatitis is under control, acute cases can be treated by employing processes that remove bile duct obstructions or by conducting surgery for gallbladder or pancreas (if that was the cause of pancreatitis). Treatment to control alcoholism is also undertaken in order to prevent further damage to the pancreas.

For the treatment of chronic cases, supplementary digestive enzymes need to be taken after every meal, also, certain diet changes need to be made. Medicines are also consumed to relieve the pain that are very severe in case of chronic pancreatitis.

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