Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) mostly occurs as a result of gallstones or after excessive consumption of alcohol.

Overview

Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) mostly occurs as a result of gallstones or after excessive consumption of alcohol. It causes very severe stomach ache, combined with nausea, vomiting and being bloated. It is a medical emergency.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Severe pain in the upper abdomen, often in a belt-like pattern and radiating to the back
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Bloating (“full belly”)
  • Fever

Pancreatitis is a very serious disease, which can be life-threatening in the worst cases.

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Gallstones (which block the common bile duct)
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol, alcohol abuse

Infrequent causes include infections, autoimmune diseases, cystic fibrosis, side effects of surgery, abdominal injuries, metabolic disorders and side effects of medication.

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Blood test, stool analysis (typical markers for pancreatitis)
  • Ultrasound (sonography)
  • CT scan (computed tomography)
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
Possible therapies
  • Painkillers
  • Temporary ban on food and drink in order to relieve the strain on the pancreas
  • Infusions with saline solution
  • Removal of gallbladder and gallstones (if this is the cause)
  • Antibiotics (for bacterial infections)
  • Dead parts of pancreas are surgically removed

What can I do myself?

  • Avoid alcohol
  • Balanced, high-fibre diet to prevent gallstones

When to see a doctor?

Synonyms

Pancreatitis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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