A woman holding her abdomen in pain

Complications of Pancreatic Enzyme Deficiency

If you or a loved one has pancreatitis, then you may also be suffering pancreatic enzyme deficiency (PED). It’s important to understand what causes pancreatic enzyme deficiency. The sooner that you learn about PED and start treatment, the better your chances are of avoiding complications.

Pancreatic enzyme deficiency complications

Pancreatic enzyme deficiency, also known as exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI), is a common complication of acute or chronic pancreatitis. Not all people with pancreas problems will develop PED, but if you have it, you may not be able to digest food properly. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause other health problems.

What can untreated pancreatic enzyme deficiency lead to?

If you or a loved one has PED, it’s important to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. There are several risks associated with untreated pancreatic enzyme deficiency, including:

  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss


Malnutrition is common in patients with PED. This condition occurs when there is a deficiency of certain nutrients needed by the body (such as iron or vitamin B12) that could result in anaemia or other serious conditions like sepsis if left untreated.

Weight loss

PED can lead to malabsorption of fat and protein, which can result in significant weight loss. That’s because the body needs pancreatic enzymes to digest food properly — without them, you will have trouble absorbing the nutrients your body needs to function.

Pancreatic enzyme deficiency treatment

Once you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatitis, your doctor will likely prescribe a specific dosage of enzyme supplements to help with the digestion of food, which can be taken orally several times a day. Your doctor will give you specific instructions for how to take them, and follow-up visits will take place in order to monitor how well the treatment is working.

Get in touch

If you have symptoms that make you think you might have a pancreatic enzyme deficiency, it’s important to see a doctor right away. If left untreated, PED can cause serious health problems and even be life-threatening. 

With early detection and treatment of PED in patients with chronic pancreatitis or acute pancreatitis, we can prevent complications such as malnutrition, weight loss and increased risk for diabetes mellitus type II— all consequences associated with inadequate replacement of pancreatic enzymes.

For more information, please book an appointment today by filling in the contact form or calling us on 07508747723.