Pancreatitis cases appear to be on the rise in the United States for reasons that aren’t clear. While most cases of pancreatitis are acute, the condition can cause severe pain and requires medical monitoring and management, especially if you have chronic pancreatitis. Meade Edmunds, MD, and his team at Edmunds Gastroenterology in Knoxville, Tennessee, can provide the care and follow up you need to minimize your discomfort and improve your health. For an appointment, call the office today or book an appointment online.
Pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreatic tissue becomes inflamed. The pancreas is useful in the formation and secretion of enzymes such as amylase, lipase, and krypton which helps the body digest foods.
The development of pancreatitis is quite severe and often results in major medical illness. If pancreatitis is prolonged, it can result in a form called chronic pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is most often caused by gallstones, but other factors such as alcohol and medicines can cause the development of pancreatitis. Once chronic pancreatitis develops, factors such as pancreatic stones and strictures may result in recurrent, acute bouts of pancreatitis.
Acute pancreatitis typically results in upper abdominal pain and is often associated with nausea and vomiting. With acute pancreatitis, the pain can be quite severe and radiate into the back.
With chronic pancreatitis, you may also experience pain. However, diarrhea, oily stools, and weight loss from malabsorption are more commonly seen with the chronic condition.
From a clinical presentation, pancreatitis can be diagnosed by either blood or fecal studies, as well as CT scans, endoscopic ultrasounds, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
The treatment for pancreatitis depends upon the actual cause of the pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis caused by gallstones requires supportive care, which is often followed by removal of your gallbladder, which is referred to as a cholecystectomy.
Bowel rest, intravenous fluids, and pain medicines are often given with acute pancreatitis. Pancreatitis can improve quickly with the above therapy, although certain patients may progress to a much more permanent illness.
Treatment of pancreatitis caused by alcohol requires alcohol abstinence.
Chronic pancreatitis is more focused on pain management, as well as the complications of dietary malabsorption with weight loss and essential mineral deficiencies. You may need to supplement with pancreatic enzymes and nutritional supplements.
Of concern is a risk of developing pancreatic cancer in those patients with chronic pancreatitis. Dr. Edmunds and his team closely monitor you and your pancreas for signs of changes that indicate cancer.
Pancreatitis can cause significant pain, but it can be managed. If you have concerns about pancreatitis, call Edmunds Gastroenterology today or request an appointment online.
This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Please consult with your primary care physician or a specialist regarding your symptoms.