Pain in the abdomen is a common condition plaguing millions of people worldwide. While it’s caused by several factors, including underlying health problems, it can affect your ability to perform simple tasks.
Pancreatitis is a health condition wherein your pancreas enlarges abnormally. This condition causes mild or severe pain depending on the severity of the condition.
Several lifestyle decisions such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, or an injury to your abdomen can lead to the development of Pancreatitis. If you are experiencing abdominal pain as a symptom of Pancreatitis, you should consult a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Although some symptoms may resolve without treatment, it is always essential to understand the first few signs and remedies for treating Pancreatitis to avoid this condition in the future.
What Causes Pancreatitis?
The pancreas is a large gland that secretes insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream. These hormones secreted by the pancreas regulate the metabolism of glucose (blood sugar).
Additionally, the pancreas produces digestive enzymes that aid in breaking down food in the small intestine (duodenum). A pancreatic enzyme is inactive until it mixes with bile from the liver and is transported to the small intestine for digestion.
Pancreatitis begins when enzymatic qualities become active inside the pancreas instead of the small intestine. This means that the digestive enzymes digest the pancreas instead of food matters in the small intestine.
Cystic fibrosis, abdominal injury, and elevated triglyceride levels (fat in the blood) can also trigger Pancreatitis.
Stages of Pancreatitis
1. Acute Pancreatitis
Acute Pancreatitis is a severe condition that signals the initial episode of the self-digestion of the pancreas and a need for specific lifestyle changes such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and diet.
Approximately 275,000 Americans are admitted each year for acute pancreatitis, making it the leading cause of hospitalization for gastrointestinal disease.
The occurrence of acute Pancreatitis is more common in adults than children and can cause mild or extreme discomfort, depending on the severity of your condition.
2. Chronic Pancreatitis
Chronic Pancreatitis is the persistent inflammation of the pancreas due to enzymatic activities. This condition eventually leads to scarring and loss of pancreatic function. Chronic Pancreatitis can lead to insulin-producing cells, which in turn result in the development of diabetes.
The primary cause of chronic pancreatitis is excessive alcohol consumption over a prolonged period.
Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Pain in the upper region of your abdomen is one of the first signs of Pancreatitis, which may be mild or severe based on how painful your condition is. Other pancreatitis symptoms include:
Most people with chronic Pancreatitis are men between the ages of 30 and 40.
Diagnosis of ancreatitis
Typically, your doctor will order a CT scan or MRI to determine if the pancreas is calcified before performing a physical examination to determine if you have Pancreatitis.
Your doctor may perform a biopsy using a needle to take tissue samples for lab analysis or blood samples to diagnose if your pancreas produces sufficient enzymes for fat metabolism.
Prevention and Treatment of Pancreatitis
Here are a few lifestyle changes that may help treat acute and chronic pancreatitis.
Alcohol consumption is a significant trigger of Pancreatitis. While in recovery, you have to avoid the intake of alcohol. You can seek a professional to overcome the habit when necessary.
Smoking is equally as harmful as drinking, as both cause inflammation of the pancreas. It would be best if you quit smoking when treating Pancreatitis.
Change your diet
To promote a healthy pancreatic function and an excellent digestive system, you need to eat a diet rich in selenium, vitamin A and C to help treat the inflammation. Starchy food and vegetables are also a great inclusion in your diet.
Alternative techniques for treating Pancreatitis include relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditation, etc., to help manage pain and discomfort.
Your doctor may perform an endoscopic Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to treat Pancreatitis.
The procedure involves the removal of blockages or obstructions, such as gallstones or pancreas stones, from the body. An endoscopic procedure may help remove diseased tissue from the pancreas.
Failure to treat Pancreatitis can result in pancreatic necrosis, which increases your susceptibility to other infections and diseases.
If you experience any of the symptoms of Pancreatitis, consult with your doctor on the best steps to take to avoid complications.