Conditions That I Treat

What is Pancreatitis?




What is Acute Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is defined as acute inflammation that takes place in the pancreas. The pancreas exists as a digestive organ that is tucked behind the stomach in the upper abdominal area. It helps by aiding digestion and providing hormones that help manage blood sugar.

What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis often has the following signs and symptoms:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Abdominal pain radiating into the back
  • Worse abdominal pain after eating
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tenderness of the abdomen

Chronic pancreatitis may have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Loss of weight without effort
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Smelly, oily stools

What Causes Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is caused by digestive enzymes becoming activated while they are still in the pancreas. This irritates the cells of the pancreas and can cause inflammation. When this occurs a number of times, it can lead to the chronic version of pancreatitis. A pancreas that is not functioning well can also lead to diabetes and digestive problems.

The two most common causes of pancreatitis are gallstones (that migrate down and block up the pancreas) and excessive alcohol intake.

Other Causes of Pancreatitis include:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • High Triglyceride levels
  • High Calcium Levels
  • Medications
  • Adverse events from procedures such as ERCP
  • Traumatic Injury
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Smoking Cigarettes
  • Family/Genetic associations

How is Pancreatitis Diagnosed?

 Pancreatitis is a diagnosis that can usually be made with a simple clinical history, physical exam, and blood tests.  In some cases where the diagnosis is unclear, radiographic imaging (i.e. CT, MRI) may be needed.

What Kind of Treatment is Available?

Currently there are standardized recommendations from our national gastroenterology societies on the best management of acute pancreatitis.  This includes IV fluids, nutrition, and pain control.   Sometimes specialized endoscopic, percutaneous, and/or surgical interventions may be necessary.  Pancreatitis may take a mild or severe course.  For severe cases it is best to be managed at a center of excellence that has the availability of many specialized services including therapeutic endoscopy.  Dr. Kedia works at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, which is the first hospital in the nation to be recognized for excellence in management of acute and chronic pancreatitis.

Treating Pancreatitis in Dallas, Tx

Are you interested in learning more about pancreatitis or other GI conditions? We invite you to contact us to learn more. Dr. Prashant Kedia is a therapeutic endoscopist and gastroenterologist serving patients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. Call today to schedule an appointment at (214) 941-6891.



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