Information on Pancreatitis
An estimated 50,000 to 80,000 people a year in the United States are affected by pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). The pancreas is located behind the stomach and secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. Pancreatitis begins when the digestive enzymes become active inside the pancreas and start "digesting" it.
What causes pancreatitis? This condition has many possible causes, but the two most common are alcoholism and gallstones. Symptoms will vary, depending on whether a person is experiencing acute or chronic pancreatitis. In general, symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Upper abdominal pain that may reach to the back or other areas
- Swollen and tender abdomen (stomach)
Depending on the type of pancreatitis a person has, treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Diet and lifestyle changes.
(Click Pancreatitis for more information, including details on the pancreatitis diet.)