Pancreatitis is a painful condition in which the pancreas becomes irritated. The pancreas is located deep in the abdominal cavity. Pain there is often severe and radiates to the back. Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon.
There are many causes of pancreatitis. One of the most common is alcohol, which if consumed regularly and a lot, can directly damage the pancreas. If a gallstone is lodged in the common bile duct, it can block the secretions and result in a backup known as gallstone pancreatitis. Direct or indirect injury such as from a car accident, fall or bullet can also inflame the pancreas. Infection either in the pancreas, gallbladder or via the blood stream will do the same. Cancer can also wreak havoc on the pancreas. If your calcium level in your blood is high, this can irritate the pancreas.
These are just some of the conditions which can cause pancreatitis. There are potential serious complications from this disorder including development of an abscess (pus pocket) within the pancreas, a cyst or necrosis (tissue death) within the pancreas.
Treatment besides bowel rest is directed at the cause. First time pancreatitis often requires a hospital stay, as the first episodes tends to be more severe than subsequent attacks. If the pancreas isn’t working afterwards, then supplements of pancreatic enzymes are often prescribed.