Digestive System Home > Symptoms of Pancreatitis
Typically, symptoms of pancreatitis begin with pain in the upper abdomen. Other signs and symptoms of the condition may include a swollen and tender abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever, and rapid pulse. In severe cases, symptoms may include dehydration, low blood pressure, and weight loss.
The pancreas is a large gland that secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine to help digest food. It also releases hormones into the bloodstream to help the body use the glucose it takes from food for energy.
Normally, digestive enzymes do not become active until they reach the small intestine, where they begin digesting food; however, if these enzymes become active inside the pancreas, they start "digesting" the pancreas itself. Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas, is a condition that affects up to 80,000 people each year in the United States. Pancreatitis symptoms vary somewhat, depending on whether a person has acute or chronic pancreatitis.
Symptoms of this condition usually begin with pain in the upper abdomen. Pancreatitis pain may be severe and may become constant. The pain can also be mild, getting worse when eating or drinking. The pain from pancreatitis may be just in the abdomen or it may reach to the back and other areas.
In certain cases, people with other symptoms of chronic pancreatitis have no pain at all. This is probably because the pancreas is no longer making digestive enzymes.
Someone with pancreatitis symptoms often looks and feels very sick. Other symptoms may include:
- Swollen and tender abdomen
- Rapid pulse.