Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas. Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis, means it appears suddenly and lasts for many days. Pancreatitis can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which occurs for many years. Mild cases of pancreatitis may remain without treatment, but severe cases can cause life-threatening complications, so they need to be treated. Signs and symptoms of pancreatitis may vary, depending on which type you experience.
Acute pancreatitis signs and symptoms include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
- Tenderness when touching the abdomen
Initial treatment for acute pancreatitis may include:
- Pain medications
- Intravenous (IV) fluids.
Once patient’s pancreatitis is under control, health care team can treat the underlying cause of patient’s pancreatitis. Depending on the cause of your pancreatitis, treatment may include:
- Procedures to remove bile duct obstructions. Pancreatitis caused by a narrowed or blocked bile duct may require procedures to open or widen the bile duct.
- Gallbladder surgery. If gallstones caused your pancreatitis, only surgery is recommended treatment to remove patient’s gallbladder (cholecystectomy).
- Pancreas surgery.Surgery may be necessary to drain fluid from your pancreas or to remove diseased tissue.
- Treatment for alcohol dependence. Drinking several drinks, a day over many years can cause pancreatitis. Continuing to drink may worsen patient’s pancreatitis and lead to serious complications.
Treatments for chronic pancreatitis
Depending on patient’s situation, chronic pancreatitis may require additional treatments, including:
- Pain Management. Chronic pancreatitis can cause persistent abdominal pain. Patient may be recommended medications to control the pain. Severe pain may be 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 can help your body break down and process the nutrients in the foods you eat. Pancreatic enzymes are taken with each meal.
- Changes in Patient’s Diet.Doctor may refer patient to a dietitian who can help you plan low-fat and high nutrients meal.