What is it?
Pancreatitis is inflammation in the pancreas. The pancreas is a long, flat gland that sits tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdomen. The pancreas produces enzymes that help digestion and hormones that help regulate the way your body processes sugar (glucose).

Pancreatitis can occur as acute pancreatitis — meaning it appears suddenly and lasts for days. Or pancreatitis can occur as chronic pancreatitis, which is pancreatitis that occurs over many years.

What are the symptoms?
Acute pancreatitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Chronic pancreatitis signs and symptoms include:
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea)

How is it diagnosed?
Blood tests can be ordered to check for elevated pancreatic enzyme levels.  CT scans look for gallstones and assess the extent of pancreatic inflammation.

How is it treated?
Fasting will give your pancreas a chance to recover.
Pain medications can be useful as pancreatitis can cause severe pain. Your health care team will give you medications to help control the pain.
Intravenous (IV) fluids. As your body devotes energy and fluids to repairing your pancreas, you may become dehydrated. For this reason, you’ll receive extra fluids through a vein in your arm during your hospital stay.