Chronic pancreatitis is a medical disorder where there is chronic inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a long thin organ lying just behind the stomach. Its function is to release important enzymes that can process foods and also secret insulin which regulates blood sugar. The pancreas is a very fragile organ and can easily get traumatized. When the pancreas secretions of enzymes are blocked by a gallstone or the organ is damaged by certain drugs or alcohol, it spills the enzymes in the vicinity which then start to digest the pancreas itself. Acute pancreatitis is a common medical disorder and can present itself with severe pain, nausea, and vomiting. However, when the pancreas has been subject to insults from alcohol and drugs for a long time, chronic pancreatic results.
Chronic Pancreatitis Information
The typical features of pancreatitis include upper abdominal pain which may radiate to the back, difficulty processing foods, loss of weight, indigestion and frequent episodes of diarrhea. The stools appear oily and tend to float on water- primarily because they contain fat which has not been processed. In most cases of chronic pancreatitis pain, there is also severe nausea and vomiting. The other feature of chronic pancreatitis pain is that soreness is continuous and unrelenting.
Pancreatitis has many causes including alcoholism, gallstones surgery, medications, cystic fibrosis, high levels of fat, infection, and smoking. In pancreatitis, the organ is severely damaged and no longer makes enzymes to process food. Thus these individuals typically develop diabetes, malnutrition and are at a risk of developing pancreatic cancer.
The diagnosis of pancreatitis involves the use of some blood and stool test and Ct scans of the abdomen. Chronic pancreatitis treatment is quite difficult disorder and not satisfactory in most individuals. These individuals are frequently in and out of the hospital, chiefly because of the severe pain. Chronic pancreatitis treatment chiefly involves pain control. Pain management may involve nerve blocks, use of potent narcotics and use of pain pumps. Most individuals are given pancreas enzyme supplements to help the body process food and increase absorption of nutrients. Enzymes are available in pill form. A visit to the dietitian may also help so one can eat foods that will not promote diarrhea or indigestion. In some cases the pain is unbearable and surgery may be the only option. There are various techniques of doing pancreatic surgery but it is best to visit a surgeon who specializes in treating this organ.
All individual who has pancreatitis should undertake lifestyle changes to prevent pain attacks. These include avoidance of alcohol and discontinuing smoking, eating a low-fat diet and drink lots of water.
There are a variety of health supplements that have been touted to treat pancreatitis but there is no medical evidence to prove that. If you are interested in trying these alternative health supplements, talk to your physician first- most are more harmful than chronic pancreatitis itself.