Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed. The pancreas is a large gland fixed behind the stomach and beside the small intestine. It has two primary functions; releasing digestive enzymes into the small intestine that helps you digest food easily and releasing insulin into the bloodstream that helps the body control the way it uses food for energy.
The two types of pancreatitis include:
- Acute Pancreatitis: This form of pancreatitis causes sudden inflammation that only lasts for a short duration. It may cause mild discomfort or severe pain. Often, individuals can recover fully after receiving proper treatment for the condition. The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:
- Fast heart rate
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swollen stomach
- Chronic Pancreatitis: is the long-lasting form of the condition. It can occur after a situation of acute pancreatitis or as a result of excessive alcohol consumption over an extended period of time. Immediate symptoms of heavy alcohol use are rare. Often, you may only experience severe symptoms after several years. The symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include:
- Consistent pain in the upper stomach area. The pain can be excruciating.
- Diarrhea and weight loss
Adjusting your lifestyle or diet to be more healthy and active can help control your symptoms. However, for those with chronic pancreatitis, additional treatment solutions may be required. These include:
- Pain management: Chronic pancreatitis can cause frequent abdominal pain and specific medications can help combat and control this pain. However, surgery may also be required to stop the nerves that send pain signals to the brain from the pancreas.
- Enzymes: Enzyme supplements for the pancreas help your body break down and process food nutrients.