The pancreas is an organ that produces enzymes to aid digestion and insulin to manage glucose, it is located in the upper abdomen. Pancreatitis occurs when there is inflammation of the pancreas, which triggers malabsorption of nutrients. This condition can occur suddenly or become chronic, which can lead to long-term damage to the pancreas. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, sweating, rapid breathing, and abdominal pain. Pancreatitis ranges from mild to severe and usually the available treatments require hospitalization.
Method 1 of 4: Diagnosing and Evaluating
Step 1. Recognize the symptoms
Recognizing the symptoms of pancreatitis is a very important step, so you can get help right away. The sooner this problem is dealt with, the easier it is to cure. If you have any of the following symptoms that last for several days or cause serious discomfort, contact your doctor immediately:
- Pain in the upper abdomen, which moves toward the back. This pain usually gets worse after eating. Your stomach may also feel softer.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Stool that looks greasy.
- Weight loss for no known cause.
Step 2. Be aware of the possibility of other problems arising
Similar symptoms may come from different sources. You may not have pancreatitis, but have a number of other problems. However, these problems still have serious potential, therefore seeking treatment should still be done. Possible sources of the problem include:
- Ulcers - black or bloody stools are one of the main differences between ulcer and pancreatitis symptoms.
- Gallstones - fever and skin discoloration are some indicators of gallstones not pancreatitis, but most of the symptoms that appear are similar to each other
- Liver disease – yellowing of the skin or discoloration is a common indicator of liver problems, not pancreatitis
- Heart attack - tingling in the arm is a clear indicator that you have a heart problem and not liver disease – yellowing of the skin or discoloration is a common indicator of liver problems, not pancreatitis
Step 3. Identify the cause of pancreatitis
Alcoholism, cystic fibrosis, hyperparathyroidism, infections, and cancer are some of the causes of pancreatitis. This is a serious condition that has many other negative impacts on your health and well-being, which is why it is important to make sure this condition is treated promptly.
Alcoholism is one of the most common causes of pancreatitis and is closely linked to this disease. While you may think you don't have the problem, it's not a bad idea to think about it
Method 2 of 4: Asking for Medical Help
Step 1. Consult a doctor or visit the emergency room
Because the causes of pancreatitis are often very serious and because the treatment that is needed cannot be done at home, you are forced to must go to the hospital. Either by consulting with your own doctor who may require you to be hospitalized, or visiting the emergency room if you don't have a GP to confirm that the actual condition you are facing is pancreatitis.
Step 2. Seek medical aid if you don't have health insurance
If you live in the United States, you may not have access to health insurance. However, this should not prevent you from seeking treatment. There are a number of programs available to provide assistance and treatment centers across the country that you can visit. You can access the official listings to find the closest location.
Step 3. Be aware of the consequences of the disease
Ignoring pancreatitis can result in drastic weight loss, diabetes, debilitating pain, lung damage, or even death. Death is not what you want! Seek immediate help if you think you have pancreatitis and don't assume this condition will go away on its own. Many cases of pancreatitis do not require treatment, but they do require health care procedures that cannot be done at home!
Method 3 of 4: Getting Treatment
Step 1. Prepare for a number of tests
You may need to undergo a number of tests to confirm that you have pancreatitis. Blood tests, stool tests, CT scans and ultrasounds are the most common tests run to determine the source of your condition if pancreatitis is suspected.
Step 2. Get primary care
Primary hospital care is required by nearly 75% of patients. However, this is still a fairly complex treatment that needs to be done in a hospital and home care is usually not an option. Your doctor should explain the situation at hand.
- Prepare yourself not to eat food. Abstaining from food for several days, and switching instead to feeding tubes, special diets, and other alternatives are generally the mainstay of treatment for pancreatitis patients. This is because eating food will make the problem worse and make healing more difficult.
- Get IV fluids. Severe dehydration is the main problem that is often experienced by people with pancreatitis, so prepare yourself to get some fluids to overcome this. Most likely the fluids will be given in an IV form, but you may just be asked to drink more water.
- You may be given some medication. Pancreatitis will cause significant pain continuously and the doctor will eventually have to give painkillers to reduce it. Meperidine or Demerol are the most commonly prescribed painkillers for pancreatitis patients. Take antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. Antibiotics are sometimes given to prevent a possible infection or treat an existing infection.
Step 3. Treat the root cause
For ordinary or mild cases, the underlying cause may be very easy to treat (such as medication modification). However, more severe or chronic cases may require more serious treatment.
- Surgery is the option you are most likely to face if you have a serious condition. However, the operations to be performed all depend on the underlying underlying cause. Some surgical options include removal of the gallbladder, surgery to repair or remove part of the pancreas, or surgery to remove a blocked bile duct.
- Treatment for alcohol dependence will be recommended if this is the source of the problem. For your own well-being and happiness in life, you should comply with the doctor's wishes in this matter, even if you feel you do not have this problem.
- There are also enzyme supplements that you can ask for if your condition has a genetic origin or there are no other methods for treating it. These supplements are generally in the form of regular tablets and serve to aid digestion and prevent pressure on the pancreas.
Method 4 of 4: Preventing Diseases in the Future
Step 1. Eat a healthy diet and exercise
If you have mild pancreatitis, you may need to take some preventive steps in the future. One of the best things you can do is eat a healthy diet and exercise to lose weight. Pancreatitis can be severe due to high triglyceride levels or diabetes. Staying healthy will relieve the symptoms of pancreatitis, which means eating a diet low in sugar, rich in vegetables and protein.
- Eat less carbohydrates (such as pasta and chips) and reduce foods high in sugar in your diet. Eat more vegetables than fruits (which are high in sugar) and say goodbye to soda! Lean protein is also a good choice, so you can eat fish or chicken.
- You can also get good results with lots of exercise. You may be surprised to realize how easy it is to incorporate exercise into your daily activities.
Step 2. Reduce alcohol consumption
Drinking alcoholic beverages regularly can cause pancreatitis. If you have been diagnosed with pancreatitis or seem prone to pancreatic problems, stop drinking alcohol immediately.
If you want to stay fit and socialize with your friends, unbeknownst to others, order apple juice or water in a martini or whiskey glass. Both will look like liquor, even though they are essentially non-alcoholic
Step 3. Quit smoking
Smoking also triggers problems with the pancreas and can cause or make pancreatitis worse. Smoking also has many other negative health effects, so the best option is to try to stop it. There are many great methods these days to break the habit, so don't worry and don't hesitate to give it a try.
Step 4. Consider changes in the medications you are currently taking
Talk to your doctor about any medications you are currently taking. Some medications can trigger pancreatitis. Your doctor should take this into account, but you can bring it up if it hasn't been discussed before. This step is especially important if you are with a new doctor who may not know the details of your medical history.
- Don't forget to drink plenty of fluids because pancreatitis often triggers dehydration.
- Herbs such as green tea, grape seed and holy basil, can relieve mild pancreatitis symptoms, but you should first consult with your doctor before adding herbs to your daily diet.
- If pancreatitis is not treated promptly, it has the potential to be lethal from tissue loss and internal bleeding.
- Quit smoking or never start because smoking puts pressure on the pancreas.
- Acupuncture can relieve pain from pancreatitis, but there is no solid scientific evidence yet.