Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that does not heal but worsens over time. When you have chronic pancreatitis, your digestive enzymes begin to digest the pancreas itself. The pancreas is a small gland behind the stomach that secretes digestive juices into the small intestine. Eventually, chronic pancreatitis can damage a person’s digestive system and ability to make pancreatic hormones.
Some common causes of chronic pancreatitis are, but not limited to:
Chronic pancreatitis, if unmanaged, can lead to:
Although there are many complications that may arise if you are living with chronic pancreatitis, the disease is treatable if caught in time. For chronic pancreatitis the treatments can be a hospital visit to treat dehydration, pain medication and a lifestyle change to a low-fat diet.
According to the type of pancreatitis that you have, other surgeries may be required.
One of the worst symptoms of pancreatitis is the severe abdominal pain. Currently, the only remedy for this is pain medication. In order to better understand and treat this pain more research needs to be done. The goal is to improve the quality of life and the risk of complications when living with pancreatitis.
Sources: MedlinePlus, Pancreatic Cancer Action, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Pancreatitis foundation