Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas are activated before they reach the small intestine. This causes the enzymes to attack the pancreas, resulting in severe inflammation.
“One of the major symptoms of pancreatitis is upper abdominal pain that radiates into your back,” says Wilson P. Pais, MD, MBA, FACP, FRCP, gastroenterologist at Saint Francis Medical Center.“ This pain is usually constant, and in some cases it may limit your ability to function.”
Other signs of pancreatitis include nausea, vomiting, swollen abdomen, fever and increased heart rate.
If you suspect you have pancreatitis, see your doctor right away. He or she will measure your levels of digestive enzymes and admit you to the hospital if necessary. In the hospital, you will receive pain medications and intravenous fluids. Acute pancreatitis typically only lasts for a few days, while chronic pancreatitis can be more difficult to treat.
For more information, call 573-331-3000.