Common Causes of Pancreas Pain: An Easy to Understand Guide

Pancreas pain is a common symptom of many types of pancreatic diseases. If you are experiencing varying degrees of pancreas pain as well as other symptoms, the following information may provide helpful in determining what may be causing your pain. These are serious problems and so it is highly recommended that you seek medical attention for proper diagnosis. In most cases, early detection can make a big difference in treatment and recovery.

Acute Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is the rapid and severe inflammation of the pancreas. It can present itself in tenderness of the abdomen and severe pain of the upper abdominal area. This pain is frequently combined with high fever and vomiting, as well as the appearance of not looking “well.”

Acute pancreatitis can be caused by several factors, although the most common cause is heavy alcohol consumption or binge drinking. In addition to this, gallstones or gall bladder disease may also be the culprit, as well as physical trauma to the pancreas, heredity, drugs such as diuretics, and high levels of triglycerides in the blood. In a small handful of cases, acute pancreatitis is caused by unknown factors.

If you believe you may have this, visit your doctor. He or she will be able to determine if this is the cause of your pancreas pain by giving you either an ultrasound or a CT scan to identify any swelling of your organ.

Treatments will vary depending on severity and cause, but it is very important that the pancreatic tissues are allowed to rest and heal. Pain medications may be prescribed to help with the extreme discomfort, but hospitalization and intravenous feeding is often required, as well as bowel rest. Gallstones or your gallbladder may also need to be removed depending on cause.

Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is identified by an ongoing or recurrent dull to moderate pain in your upper abdomen, but without the fever and other toxic symptoms of acute pancreatitis. Generally, this condition occurs in alcoholics and long term binge drinkers.

If you are a frequent drinker and experience these symptoms, it is very important that you contact your doctor so that they can diagnose you. A diagnosis can be made by measuring your blood enzymes, taking x-rays, doing an ultrasound, and performing an abdominal CT scan. There is also the possibility of having to undergo an ERCP endoscopic test.

If you are diagnosed, you will need to undergo several lifestyle changes. You will have to completely stop drinking alcohol, and may be put on certain food restrictions as well. After the alcohol is out of your system, much of the pain may dissipate, but in certain severe cases the pain may still occur regardless of whether or not you’ve stopped drinking. Medication and rest are also recommended treatments.

Pancreatic Tumors and Cancer

Although many pancreatic tumors may be benign and may only result in peptic ulcers or hypoglycemia, there is always the possibility that they can be malignant and cause some severe problems in your health. If you are experiencing a dull, radiating pain in your upper abdomen coupled with yellowing jaundice, there is a possibility that you may have pancreatic cancer.

This is a serious disease, generally striking the middle aged and older. Up until recently, pancreatic cancer sufferers had little chance for recovery. Science and medicine have caught up however, and new technology is increasing the likelihood of survival. If you are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, you will need to undergo a surgery to help remove the cancerous tumors from your body.

If you suspect that this is a possibility, go see your physician immediately and get a screening done to determine whether or not cancer or tumors are the cause of your pancreas pain. If they are, you and your doctor can discuss the proper course of action. Early detection is the key.