Thursday, May 24, 2018 by Zoey Sky
Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas.
The pancreas is an abdominal gland located behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas secretes enzymes and hormones that are crucial for digestion.
There are two main types of pancreatitis:
- Acute pancreatitis — This type of pancreatitis may develop suddenly. Acute pancreatitis is usually a short-term condition. After several days or weeks, the condition can be resolved with medical treatment. In its most severe form, acute pancreatitis may have severe side effects on various body organs, such as the lungs and kidneys.
- Chronic pancreatitis – Chronic pancreatitis often develops following episodes of acute pancreatitis. It is a long-term condition that may last for several months or years.
Known side effects of pancreatitis
The side effects of pancreatitis usually include upper abdominal pain that can be mild to severe. The pain may manifest suddenly, but it may also develop gradually. The upper abdominal pain associated with pancreatitis may begin or worsen when a patient is eating. This can also be accompanied by gallbladder or ulcer pain.
Abdominal pain usually indicates acute pancreatitis and people with this type of pancreatitis often feel very ill.
The side effects of acute pancreatitis can include:
- Abdominal pain that may radiate to the back
- Fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pain when the abdomen is touched
- Weakness and lethargy
- Worsening pain after eating
If a patient has chronic pancreatitis, abdominal pain may also be present. However, it isn’t as severe like with acute pancreatitis. Others may not feel any pain at all.
The side effects of chronic pancreatitis can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Foul-smelling and oily stool
- Unintentional weight loss
Risk factors for pancreatitis may include:
- Being African American
- Being male
- Having a family history of pancreatitis
- Having a family or personal history of gallstones
Body systems harmed by pancreatitis
Both acute and chronic pancreatitis may cause the following complications:
- Damage to the pancreas
- Heart, kidney, or lung failure
- Leakage from the pancreatic duct
- Narrowing or blockage in a bile or pancreatic duct
- Pancreatic pseudocysts
Other complications linked to acute pancreatitis may include:
Other complications linked to chronic pancreatitis may include:
- Bone fractures, osteopenia, and osteoporosis
- Chronic pain in the abdomen
- Maldigestion (being unable to digest food properly)
- Malnutrition and malabsorption
- Pancreatic cancer (This is more common in patients with both diabetes and pancreatitis)
- Scars in the pancreas
Food items or nutrients that may prevent pancreatitis
The following foods or nutrients can help prevent pancreatitis:
- Calendula — Calendula has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-genotoxic properties.
- Dandelion — Dandelion can help treat aggressive pancreatic cancer cells, even those that are resistant to other types of cancer treatments. Additionally, dandelion tea can flush toxins from the intestines and heal damaged pancreatic tissues.
- Lemon — Sour fruits like kiwi, limes, and lemons can encourage the release of vital digestive enzymes from the pancreas.
- Licorice — Licorice root has an anti-inflammatory compound that can help reduce pain and swelling linked to pancreatitis.
- Goldenseal — Goldenseal can help lower blood sugar levels and improve the pancreas’ overall function.
- Haritaki — Haritaki has potent cancer-fighting compounds and it can help prevent the growth of cancerous tumors in the pancreas.
- Horsetail — Horsetail is full of silica that can help the body heal and rebuild tissue damaged because of pancreatitis.
Treatments, management plans for pancreatitis
Treatment for acute or chronic pancreatitis may include:
- A hospital stay to treat dehydration with intravenous (IV) fluids and fluids.
- Patients may be required to follow a low-fat diet. If they are unable to eat, healthcare professionals may recommend a feeding tube or an IV drip.
- Pain medicine may also be prescribed.
Where to learn more
Pancreatitis refers to the inflammation of the pancreas. There are two main types of pancreatitis, acute and chronic pancreatitis.
The side effects of pancreatitis usually include upper abdominal pain that can be mild to severe. The pain may manifest suddenly, but it may also develop gradually.
Both acute and chronic pancreatitis may cause the complications like damage to the pancreas, death, or pancreatic pseudocysts.
Calendula, dandelion, licorice, goldenseal, haritaki, and horsetail can help prevent pancreatitis.
Treatment for acute or chronic pancreatitis may include a hospital stay to treat dehydration with intravenous (IV) fluids and fluids or medication.