Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic Pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term condition that gradually destroys the pancreas. This inflammation causes the organ’s cells to malfunction and become permanently damaged.

Chronic pancreatitis is predominantly caused by alcohol abuse. It has also been linked to genetic mutations, smoking, mumps, autoimmune conditions, or a blocked pancreatic duct or bile duct. With a blocked pancreatic duct or bile duct, digestive juices accumulate and can cause the pancreas to digest itself.

Middle-aged men are more susceptible to this condition.

Symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include:

  • Weight loss.
  • Upper abdominal pain.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Oily, fatty, or bulky bowel movements.

Since chronic pancreatitis doesn’t heal and becomes progressively worse, treatments are generally for pain relief. In cases with severe pain, there are various surgical procedures like:

  • Resection – During a resection, parts of the pancreas causing extreme pain are removed.
  • Lithotripsy – If gallstones block the pancreas’ opening, shock waves (lithotripsy) may be used to shatter them. An endoscope is then worked through the pancreatic duct to remove the pieces.
  • Total Pancreatectomy – When the pancreas is severely damaged, the entire organ may need to be removed. Although this alleviates pain, your body no longer produces insulin. Because of this, insulin-producing cells are removed from your pancreas and injected into your liver. In the future, you may need more insulin therapy.

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