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Pancreatitis is the redness and swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas. This happens when digestive juices or enzymes attack the pancreas.
The pancreas lies behind your stomach on the left side of your belly or abdomen. It is close to the first part of your small intestine (the duodenum).
The pancreas is a gland. It does 2 main things:
Pancreatitis may be sudden (acute) or ongoing (chronic).
The most common causes of pancreatitis include:
Each person’s symptoms may vary. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of pancreatitis may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider to be sure.
Your healthcare provider will look at your past health. He or she will give you a physical exam.
You may have some blood tests done. You may also have some imaging tests including:
The treatment goal is to rest the pancreas and let it heal.
In most cases you:
Pancreatitis often gets better in a few days.
If any problems occur, treatment may include:
If you have chronic pancreatitis you may also:
Acute pancreatitis usually gets better on its own over time. Most people recover without any problems. A small number of cases end up with fluid collections around the pancreas that require drainage.
Chronic pancreatitis may also get better on its own. But that can take longer, after a few attacks. Chronic pancreatitis has a greater risk of long-term problems such as:
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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