Your pancreas is a gland that sits behind your stomach and produces enzymes that help you digest food. If your pancreas is inflamed, referred to as pancreatitis, then you may experience severe abdominal pain, especially after you eat. The experienced team at Colorado Gastroenterology, with offices in Denver, Aurora, and Golden, can diagnose and treat pancreatitis to reduce your pain and improve digestion. To schedule a consultation, call the office nearest you today.
Pancreatitis refers to inflammation of your pancreas. The small, long gland is responsible for producing digestive enzymes, as well as hormones that aid in blood sugar control. The inflammation occurs when your digestive enzymes become activated while still in the gland.
Your pancreatitis may be acute and come and go quickly, or chronic and require ongoing medical care.
You may develop pancreatitis from a number of causes. Some of the most common include:
Knowing the underlying cause may help direct your treatment.
Your pancreatitis symptoms may vary depending on whether you have acute or chronic pancreatitis. Common symptoms include:
People with chronic pancreatitis may also experience steatorrhea, which refers to stools that are oily (due to maldigestion of fat) and odorous.
If you’re experiencing abdominal pain or changes in bowel habits, contact Colorado Gastroenterology for an evaluation.
Your specialist at Colorado Gastroenterology conducts a comprehensive examination when you come in with concerns about abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits. During your evaluation, your specialist reviews your medical history and symptoms and conducts a physical exam.
To determine the underlying cause of your pain, your specialist may recommend a blood test to assess your pancreatic enzyme levels, as well as diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or CT scan. They may also recommend a fecal test.
Treatment for your pancreatitis may depend on whether your pancreatic inflammation is acute or chronic. With acute pancreatitis, your specialist at Colorado Gastroenterology may recommend bowel rest, intravenous fluids, and pain medication to ease your discomfort.
Once your pancreatitis has resolved, your specialist may direct treatment at the underlying cause to prevent a recurrence.
For chronic pancreatitis, treatment may depend on whether you’re experiencing a flare-up or not. During a flare-up, treatment is similar to acute pancreatitis and may include bowel rest, fluids, and pain medication.
To manage your chronic condition, you may need to take digestive enzymes to prevent abdominal pain and improve digestion, as well as pain medication to reduce your discomfort. You may also be instructed to modify your diet to prevent pain and steatorrhea.
For comprehensive management of pancreatitis, call Colorado Gastroenterology today.