Young woman suffering from stomachache at home

Pancreatitis: When To Worry?

Pancreatitis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the pancreas. It can range in severity from mild to severe, making it crucial to understand the warning signs and know when to seek medical attention. In this article, we will explore the symptoms of pancreatitis and guide you on when it’s time to be concerned.

Causes of pancreatitis

Pancreatitis can be caused by various factors. The most common causes include gallstones, which can obstruct the pancreatic duct and lead to inflammation. Excessive alcohol consumption is another significant cause, as it can damage the pancreas and trigger inflammation. Certain medications, infections, and genetic factors can also contribute to pancreatitis. 

Other potential causes include high levels of triglycerides in the blood, abdominal trauma, autoimmune disorders, and certain medical procedures. Identifying the underlying cause of pancreatitis is crucial for appropriate treatment and prevention of future episodes. Consulting with a healthcare professional is necessary to determine the specific cause and develop an effective management plan.

When to seek medical help for pancreatitis

When it comes to pancreatitis, there are certain signs and symptoms that should raise concerns and prompt you to seek medical attention. Knowing when to worry is crucial for timely intervention and appropriate management of the condition.

One of the primary indications that should raise alarm is severe abdominal pain. Pancreatitis-related pain is often intense and persistent, and it may radiate to the back or chest. If you experience this kind of abdominal pain accompanied by a high fever, it is essential to seek medical help promptly.

Additionally, if your symptoms continue to worsen or show no signs of improvement over time, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional. Symptoms such as persistent nausea, recurrent vomiting, and digestive issues like diarrhoea and oily stools should not be ignored, as they could be indicative of pancreatitis.

The presence of jaundice, characterised by yellowing of the skin and eyes, should also be taken seriously. Jaundice may suggest a possible blockage of the bile duct, which can be associated with pancreatitis.

Being aware of these warning signs can help you recognize when it is time to worry about pancreatitis. Timely medical intervention is crucial to ensure proper diagnosis, effective pain management, and prevention of potential complications. If you experience persistent abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, digestive issues, or jaundice, it is important to seek medical attention promptly.

Diagnosing and treating pancreatitis

To diagnose pancreatitis, your doctor may perform a physical examination, review your medical history, and order diagnostic tests such as blood work or imaging scans. Treatment options may include:

  • Pain Management: Medications can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with pancreatitis.
  • Intravenous Fluids: In severe cases, intravenous fluids and nutritional support may be necessary to prevent dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Dietary Changes: Your doctor may recommend a low-fat diet and advise you to avoid alcohol to reduce the workload on the pancreas.
  • Addressing Underlying Causes: Treating the underlying cause of pancreatitis, such as gallstone removal or alcohol cessation, is crucial to prevent recurrent episodes.

Pancreatitis is a condition that requires medical attention. Recognizing the warning signs is essential to ensure timely intervention. If you experience persistent abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, digestive issues, or jaundice, it is important not to ignore these symptoms. Prompt medical help can effectively manage pancreatitis and minimise the risk of complications. 

At Birmingham HPB Clinic, our team of experts is dedicated to treating pancreatic disorders, providing comprehensive care and support to our patients. Book your appointment online or get in touch on 07508747723.