The Pancreas is one of the most important organ which is located behind the stomach in the upper left abdomen. It is surrounded by other organs such as small intestine, liver and spleen. Pancreas plays an essential role in converting the food into fuel for the body’s cells. The pancreas has two main functions: an exocrine function that helps in digestion and an endocrine function that regulates blood sugar.

Pancreatitis is a pathologic inflammation of the pancreas. Acute Pancreatitis occurs suddenly and last for many days while Chronic Pancreatitis occurs over many years. Pancreatitis is one of the least common diseases of the digestive system. Severe Pancreatitis can cause life threatening complications.

Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis:

• Upper abdominal pain
• Abdominal pain reaching to back
• Severe abdominal pain after eating
• Fever
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Rapid pulse

Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis:

• Upper abdominal pain
• Losing weight without trying
• Steatorrhea

Causes of Pancreatitis:

• Alcohol
• Gallstones
• Abdominal surgery
• Smoking
• Cystic fibrosis
• Family history of pancreatitis
• Hypercalcemia
• Hypertriglyceridemia
• Infections
• Abdominal injury
• Pancreatic cancer

Pancreatitis complications

Pancreatitis can cause serious complications such as..

• Pseudocyst
• Kidney failure
• Breathing problems
• Diabetes
• Pancreatic cancer

Diagnosis of Pancreatitis:

Doctor use blood test and imaging test reports for the diagnosis of pancreatitis. In case of acute pancreatitis, severe abdominal pain and blood test show a significant rise in the level of pancreatic enzymes.

Different types of ultrasound, MRI and CT scans shows the anatomy of pancreas, signs of inflammation and information about the biliary and pancreatic ducts. A fecal fat test can also determine if stools have fat content which is higher than normal.

Treatment of Pancreatitis:

Pancreas has major role in the digestive process hence it should be treated at the earliest for faster healing. Generally in acute and chronic pancreatitis treatment, hospitalization is required.

• Diet:

A low-fat healthy diet plays a major role in recovering from pancreatitis. Patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis should be careful while consuming high fatty foods. Pancreatitis patient should eat small meals throughout the day to reduce the stress on digestive system. Drinking lots of fluids is very helpful. Many times patient gets extra fluid through a vein known as Intravenous (IV) fluid. Doctor can also give vitamins supplement to get essential nutrients.

• Surgery:

Surgery is performed depending on the causes of Pancreatitis. If Pancreatitis is caused by Gallstones then doctor perform Gallbladder surgery. Pancreas surgery is necessary to drain fluid from pancreas or to remove diseased tissue. If Pancreatitis is caused by a narrowed or blocked bile duct then surgery is needed to open or widen the bile duct. This procedure is known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) which uses a long tube with camera to examine pancreas and bile duct.

• Lifestyle changes:

Every Pancreatitis patient should strictly stop smoking and drinking alcohol for faster healing of the pancreas. Smoking and alcohol can create serious complications.

• Pain management:

In Chronic Pancreatitis due to the continuous abdominal pain, doctor prescribes medicines to control pain. Severe pain is relieved with options such as endoscopic ultrasound or surgery to block nerves that send pain signals from the pancreas to the brain.

• Enzymes to improve digestion:

Pancreatic enzyme supplements help body to break down and process the nutrients in the foods. Pancreatic enzymes are usually taken with each meal.

Pancreatitis patient can control pancreatitis with a healthy lifestyle and necessary medical treatment. However, if any of symptoms reappear urgent consultation of doctor is important to avoid severe complication.