The pancreas is located in mid abdomen and produces enzymes that both help with digestion and those that help regulate sugar in our body. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas and happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself. It can be acute or chronic. Either can be serious and potentially lead to complications. Two common causes of acute pancreatitis include excessive alcohol use and gallstones. Most common symptoms of acute pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain sometimes radiating to the back, fever, nausea or vomiting. Most cases of acute pancreatitis require hospitalization and symptoms go away in 24-48 hours with close monitoring and aggressive hydration. Chronic pancreatitis, on the other hand, can have a complicated course requiring a prolonged hospitalization and usually needs outpatient GI follow up. Most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is heavy alcohol use. Complications of chronic pancreatitis include diarrhea, weight loss, pseudocyst formation, malignancy. At Hillmont GI we can help manage acute and chronic pancreatitis both as inpatient and as outpatient. Patients with chronic pancreatitis may need medicines to relieve pain, to help absorb fat in their diet and nutritional support. With the help of experts at Hillmont, they can not only understand pancreatitis better but also learn to manage its complications effectively.
Besma Samdani, MD