The pancreas is a very important organ in the body, and its inflammation can cause a myriad of clinical problems such as digestive disorders or extreme pain. Chronic inflammation of the pancreas is known as chronic pancreatitis, and below are a few of the symptoms associated with the condition.
Weight loss and altered stools:
The pancreas is responsible for synthesis and secretion of enzymes that help digestion and absorption in the intestine. When inflamed, these tasks are disrupted, and as a result, chronic pancreatitis causes weight loss, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, oily and clay-colored stool.
Abdominal and back pain:
Another common symptom of chronic pancreatitis is continuous pain. The pain is usually at the upper abdomen, and can be severe. However, a patient may experience no pain at all, or pain in the back instead. Chronic pancreatitis pain may be aggravated by eating and drinking, especially alcoholic beverages
Onset of diabetes:
The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin. Destruction of pancreatic cells can result in decreased insulin production, which is needed to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. As a result, diabetes can result from chronic pancreatitis.
Chronic pancreatitis treatment mainly depends on the stage, and symptoms of the disease.
For selected cases of chronic pancreatitis symptoms, surgery may be considered. Some of the recommended surgeries include:
Surgery to manage chronic pancreatitis may also include removal of the pancreas, which can take either or the following forms:
The removal of the pancreas, either partially or fully, has been noted to reduce pain in patients with chronic pancreatitis. In the case of a total removal of the pancreas, transplantation of islet cells can be a consideration in order to prevent diabetes.
Along with chronic pancreatitis surgery and treatment, dietary changes can help manage chronic pancreatitis. Below are some common changes one could make to help improve chronic pancreatitis.
Senior Consultant Surgeon
MBBS (Singapore), FRCS (Edinburgh), MMed (Surgery), MSc (Bioinformatics),
FAMS (General Surgery)
With 20 years of surgical experience, Dr Lee is trained and skilled in using minimally invasive techniques for liver, pancreas, gallbladder and hernia procedures.
His busy practice aside, Dr Lee is actively involved in postgraduate teaching and workshops for junior surgeons, and is still actively involved in academic research at the National University of Singapore.
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