Pancreas pain occurs due to the inflammation of the organ. So, you can suffer from severe pain and discomfort. The pancreas is a vital organ of your digestive system. It is tucked behind your stomach in the upper abdominal region. The long and flat gland produces enzymes necessary for digestion. The pancreas is also responsible for producing hormones, which processes the sugar/glucose levels in your blood. Inflammation of the pancreas can affect your digestion or can lead to high sugar levels (diabetes). Therefore, you need to handle the problem as early as possible. Severe cases of pancreas problem can have life-threatening complications.
The problem can occur suddenly or develop over the years. The problem that occurs suddenly can last for a few days. So, you can rectify the problem with proper medical care. Also known as acute pancreatitis, you can reverse the damage with medication and care. But, some people develop pancreatic inflammation over a period of time. It is referred to as chronic pancreatitis. The problem can trigger severe pain and cause irreversible damage. You cannot cure the problem completely. But, with proper medical assistance, you can manage it from affecting your life adversely.
Symptoms Of Pancreas Pain
So, how can you detect you have some issue with your pancreas. When your pancreas suffers inflammation, you can observe specific signs in your body. Depending on the type of inflammation, you can suffer from the following signs:
Acute Pancreas Inflammation
The problem can occur suddenly without any indication. So, you can suffer from the following symptoms:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Pain generates from abdomen radiating to your back
- Abdominal pain worsens after eating food
- Rapid Pulse
- Abdomen feels tender when you touch
Chronic Pancreas Inflammation Symptoms
The condition occurs due to the adverse effect on the pancreas over a period of time. It leads to irreversible damage to the pancreas. So, the signs of the problem include:
- Weight loss without any particular reason
- Upper abdominal pain
- Smelly, oily stools (Steatorrhea)
It is important to seek a doctor’s assistance when you suffer from persistent abdominal pain. Pain in your body that does not go away after some time requires medical attention. Pain is the method used by your body to indicate some underlying health issue. When you fail to get treatment, your pain worsens. It can make you uncomfortable as you find it difficult to sit and perform your chores. Therefore, seek an appointment with your doctor to get relief.
Causes Of Pancreas Pain
Pancreatic inflammation occurs when the digestive enzymes released into the stomach gets back to the pancreas. The activated enzymes can irritate the pancreatic cells. So, it leads to inflammation. You can suffer from pancreas pain due to the inflammation. The repetitive bouts of inflammation can damage your pancreas. It can lead to the formation of scar tissue in the pancreas. So, your pancreas can lose its ability to function properly. The chronic condition can lead to poor function pancreas that causes issues with digestion and diabetes. You may wonder why you suffer pancreatic inflammation. The inflammation can occur due to any of the following causes:
- Presence of gallstones
- Smoking cigarettes
- Complications from abdominal surgery
- Abdominal injury
- Side effects of certain medications
- Family history of pancreas inflammation
- Pancreatic cancer
- Hypertriglyceridemia (the high levels of triglycerides in your blood)
- The side effect of performing ERCP (treatment for removing gallstones) in elderly patients
- Hypercalcemia (High levels of calcium in your blood) triggered due to hyperparathyroidism (overactive parathyroid gland)
In some cases, it is difficult to identify the exact problem leading to pancreas pain. But, when you feel severe pain, see your doctor.
Complications Due To Ignoring Pancreas Pain
Pancreas pain due to simple reasons can go away with care. But, if you experience persistent pain for more than a few days, then take an appointment with your doctor. Ignoring the pain can lead to severe complications. Therefore, get medical immediately to avoid complication like:
Your pancreas has a cyst-like pocket. The inflammation of the pancreas due to acute causes can lead to the fluid as well as debris to collect in the pockets. The pseudocyst can become large and ultimately rupture. It leads to complications like infection and severe internal bleeding.
Inflammation of your pancreas makes the organ vulnerable to attack from bacteria. So, you are more at risk of bacterial infections. Pancreatic infections are serious health conditions that can have fatal complications. Therefore, it needs intensive treatment like invasive surgery to remove the infection. The affected tissue needs removal to prevent further complications.
Acute pancreatitis can result in renal failure. Pancreatic inflammation can lead to hypoxemia. The extra pressure put on the kidneys can damage it in the long-term. With severe kidney problems, you may need dialysis to overcome the adverse effects on the body.
The acute form of pancreas inflammation can trigger chemical changes in your body. So, you can experience problems with your lung function. It can lead to oxygen levels in your blood to fall. The dangerously low levels of oxygen can trigger severe problems, including breathing complications.
Chronic problems with your pancreas can cause irreversible damage to your pancreas. So, it causes problems for the insulin-producing cells. The problems can lead to problems in the way your body processes sugar. Therefore, you can suffer from high blood sugar or diabetes.
Pancreatic inflammation caused due to acute or chronic problems can lead to malnutrition. Apart from pancreas pain, the problem can lead to the production of fewer enzymes. So, your digestive system receives fewer enzymes to break down the food and process the nutrients from it. It causes deprivation of nutrients. So, you can suffer from diarrhea as well as weight loss, even when you consume the same type and quantity of food.
If you ignore pancreas inflammation for a long time, then it can put you at risk of developing pancreatic cancer. Long-standing pancreatic pain points to chronic pancreatitis, which requires medical attention.
Diagnosing Pancreas Pain
When you suffer from pain or other symptoms associated with pancreas inflammation, see your doctor. The medical professional can use specific tests to diagnose the problem accurately. It is important to diagnose the issue correctly as several other problems have similar symptoms. Therefore, your doctor suggests the following tests or procedures for coming to a specific conclusion:
The blood tests look for increased levels of pancreatic enzymes in your blood. The sample blood is detected in the lab for the elevated pancreatic enzymes.
Chronic pancreatitis can affect your digestive system adversely. So, your doctor suggests stool tests to detect the fat levels. When your digestive system fails to absorb nutrients properly, it can result in oily stools.
Computerized tomography is the imaging test that can provide comprehensive images of your digestive system. It is vital in detecting the presence of gallstones or pancreas inflammation. It can assess the extent of the inflammation to your pancreas.
Abdominal ultrasound provides information on the presence of gallstones. It also detects pancreas inflammation.
Endoscopic ultrasound can provide a clear picture of the blockages as well as the inflammation in your bile duct or pancreatic duct. So, it helps your doctor correctly identify the underlying cause of pancreas pain.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging uses a powerful magnetic field and sound waves to provide a clear picture of the pancreas, gallbladder, and the ducts. So, it can detect any abnormalities present in the region that triggers inflammation.
Depending on the diagnosis, your doctor can suggest further tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment For Pancreas Pain
When your doctor accurately finds the underlying cause of your pancreas pain, then you need to undergo specific treatments. Before undergoing the treatment, your doctor tries to reduce the inflammation of your pancreas. For the initial treatment, you need to stay at the hospital. After your pancreas inflammation comes under control, the doctor opts ideal treatment options. The treatment is selected based on the underlying cause of the pancreas inflammation. Therefore, the different treatment options available are:
Once you experience pain in your pancreas, you need to see your doctor immediately. Your doctor tries to reduce the inflammation and offer initial treatments including:
Your doctor suggests you to stop consuming food for a couple of days. You need to stay at the hospital during fasting. You are given fluids through the veins to ensure you get the nutrition. But, your digestive system, including your pancreas gets a chance to recover from the inflammation. Once your inflammation comes under control, you can start drinking liquids. You can also include bland foods to your diet. As time progresses, you can go back to your normal diet. So, it helps your body recover from the pancreatic inflammation.
Control Severe Pain During Consuming Food
Some people experience severe pain due to chronic pancreas inflammation. In such cases, the pain worsens while eating food. So, your doctor recommends using a feeding tube to get the necessary nutrition for your body. To manage severe pain, your healthcare team offers medications. The pain medication offers you relief from severe pain.
Give Intravenous Fluids
When you suffer from pancreas pain, your body tries to alleviate the underlying cause leading to the problem. So, your body devotes his entire energy to repair your pancreas. It can lead to dehydration. During the hospital stay, your doctor suggests IV fluids. You can receive the extra fluids to overcome dehydration. Therefore, during your hospital stay, you receive fluids through the veins of your arm.
Treatment For Acute Pancreas Pain
Once the pancreas inflammation comes under control, your doctor detects the exact cause of the problem. For acute pancreas pain, you need treatment to overcome the issues. In most cases, simple or mild cause triggers the problem. So, with proper treatment, you can overcome the pancreas pain easily. Depending on the root cause of the problem, you need the following treatment:
Remove Bile Duct Obstructions
Pancreas inflammation and subsequent pain can occur due to a blocked or narrowed bile duct. So, you need to undergo procedures to remove the obstruction or widen the bile duct. In most cases, your healthcare professional opts for ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). It is a technique, which combines fluoroscopy and endoscopy to detect as well as treat duct problems.
The procedure uses a long tube, which has a camera at one end. The camera helps detect the issues with pancreas as well as bile ducts. The doctor slowly places the camera down your throat and it sends pictures of the different parts of your digestive system. Your doctor analyzes the pictures sent to the monitor to detect the problem. ERCP procedures can help remove the obstruction causing the ducts to get closed or narrow. It can also help your doctor insert stents. Stents are devices that can help open the narrowed ducts. In elderly people, the procedure comes with several risks, including suffering from acute pancreatitis.
At times, gallstones can lead to pancreas pain. The gallstones can block the bile duct. So, it can prevent the flow of pancreatic enzymes from your pancreas to the small intestine. It results in the accumulation of the enzymes in the pancreas and leads to inflammation. Therefore, your doctor can suggest gallbladder surgery to remove the gallstones. The procedure, cholecystectomy, helps get relief from the gallstones.
The accumulation of pancreatic enzymes can lead to fluid buildup in the organs. Therefore, your doctor can suggest surgery to drain the fluid from your pancreas. In some cases, fluid draining cannot offer relief. It is due to the worsened state of your pancreases. In such cases, your doctor suggests removing the diseased pancreas.
Treatment To Overcome Alcohol Dependence
People who consume alcohol for a longer period of time can develop pancreas problems. The inflammation of the pancreas due to alcohol consumption needs immediate rectification. Therefore, you need to quit consuming alcohol to prevent further complications. If you have developed a dependency on alcohol, then you need to enter a treatment program to overcome the addiction. The programs can help you quit drinking alcohol, which will help your treatment.
Treatment For Chronic Pancreas Pain
Chronic pain triggered due to pancreas inflammation needs additional treatment. Without proper treatment, the condition can cause irreversible damage to your pancreas. So, depending on the situation, you need to undergo additional treatments like:
Chronic pancreas pain can cause severe discomfort. It can trigger pain in the abdomen. So, it needs treatment to overcome the agony. You can also see a pain specialist to get treatment to overcome the suffering associated with the problem. For severe cases, you need to undergo surgery to block nerves that send pain signals to your brain from pancreas. Some cases require an endoscopic ultrasound to get relief.
Enzymes To Improve Digestion
You can take pancreatic enzyme supplements to help with the absorption of nutrients. The enzymes can break down the nutrients and ensure their complete absorption. So, you need to take the pancreatic enzyme along with each meal to get the desired effects.
Changes to your diet
Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian who can help you plan low-fat meals that are high in nutrients.
Lifestyle And Home Remedies To Prevent Pancreas Pain
After taking treatment, you need to take some steps to prevent pancreas pain. So, once you leave the hospital, you need to follow some steps to continue your recovery and prevent the problem from occurring again. Here are some lifestyle and home remedies to prevent the pain of pancreas:
Quit Drinking Alcohol
Alcohol can cause inflammation in your pancreas. Therefore, to prevent further complication, you need to quit drinking alcohol. If you have trouble stopping drinking on your own, then ask for professional help. Get assistance from your doctor to stop drinking. You can get access to the programs that will help you quit drinking.
People with a pancreas problem need to stop smoking. You can ask for assistance from your doctor to quit it. At times, you cannot stop smoking on your own. So, you need the aid of medications as well as counseling to quit smoking.
Opt For A Low-Fat Diet
To reduce the overworking of your pancreas, you need to adopt a low-fat diet. So, cut down fat and include more fresh fruits as well as vegetables in your diet. Including lean protein and whole grains in your diet to enhance pancreas health.
Drink More Fluids
Pancreas inflammation can lead to dehydration. Therefore, you need to drink more fluids. Drinking liquid throughout the day can improve pancreas health. So, keep a bottle of water with you always to avoid dehydration.
Alternative Medicine To Relieve Pancreas Pain
Alternative medication cannot overcome the inflammation of the pancreas. But, the therapies can help you cope with the pain associated with the problem. It is helpful for people suffering from chronic pancreatic inflammation. You cannot control immense pain using the medication alone. So, you can implement the complementary as well as alternative practices to manage the pain effectively. The alternative medications can help you feel more in control of your pain. Therefore, the following therapies can help you cope with pain better:
Meditation is an effective practice to manage your pain well. You can use the techniques like focusing your mind on an activity/object or mindfulness to achieve a calm state. It helps you come to a stable state or clear your mind. Studies indicate that practicing medication can offer you relief from pain to a certain extent.
Relaxation exercises focus on relieving stress from your body. It will help you enjoy a better quality of life by overcoming pain as well as agony. Stress can have an adverse effect on you. So, it can trigger several illnesses, including pain.
Yoga with its origin in India combines physical, mental as well as spiritual disciplines or practices for providing physical and mental fitness. It combines meditation, breath control, and stretching movements to strengthen your muscles and overcome chronic pain.
It is the alternative therapy that helps you manage pancreas pain. During the treatment, an acupuncturist inserts several needles into your skin. The thin needles inserted at different points of the skin. The needle inserted to various depths in the body can balance the energy and offer you relief from pain. It can boost your wellbeing and offer pain relief.
You can suffer from pancreas pain due to simple or severe problems. It is essential to identify the actual health problem triggering pancreatic inflammation. By getting treatment as soon as possible, you can prevent irreversible damage to your pancreas. Therefore, never hesitate to consult your doctor to get the proper treatment to alleviate the pain as well as discomfort caused due to the condition.
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