The pancreas is an organ in the middle of the upper abdomen. It produces specialized proteins called enzymes that are important in the digestion of proteins, fats, and sugars. The pancreas also produces insulin and other hormones important in maintaining normal blood sugar levels.
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of pancreas. Causes of pancreatitis include gallstones, viruses and other infections, medications, congenital malformations, inherited conditions, and trauma to the abdomen.
What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?
Inflammation of the pancreas is often associated with pain in the upper abdomen and/or the back, which may develop slowly, be mild and short of duration, or be sudden in onset, more severe and longer lasting. Nausea and vomiting are very common. Fever and jaundice may be present.
How is pancreatitis diagnosed?
Raised amylase and lipase
An abdominal ultrasound (sonogram)
MRI/ MRCP (magnetic resonance cholanglopancreatography)
ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
How is pancreatitis treated?
Treatment mainly consists of putting the pancreas to rest (i.e. no eating or drinking) and relieving any associated pain. A nasogastric tube may be placed to suck fluid from the stomach. Most people, children in particular, recover within a week, with no permanent damage to the pancreas.