The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.
Blood tests will be done to look for certain enzymes that point to chronic pancreatitis.
Images may be taken of the abdomen. This can be done with:
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP)
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
A pancreatic function test may be done. This test measures how well the pancreas is making a hormone needed to digest food.
The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms. Choices are:
- Supportive care, such as drinking extra fluids or getting fluids through an IV
- Dietary changes, such as a low fat diet or nutrition given through a tube that is passed through the nose and into the stomach
- Lifestyle changes, such as not drinking alcohol and not smoking
- Medicines, such as:
- Pain relievers
- Pancreatic enzymes to help with digestion
- Corticosteroids to ease swelling
People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery. The type of surgery done depends on the reason for the pancreatitis. Some choices are:
- Percutaneous catheter drainage to drain fluid from the pancreas
- ERCP to open any blockages or drain cysts
- Cholecystectomy to remove the gallbladder
- Necrosectomy to remove dying or dead tissue from the pancreas
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov
National Pancreas Foundation https://pancreasfoundation.org
Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Chronic pancreatitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116518/Chronic-pancreatitis . Updated February 20, 2017. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Chronic pancreatitis. Tulane University School of Medicine website. Available at: https://medicine.tulane.edu/find-doctor/surgical-care/liver-pancreas-center/liver-pancreas-conditions-symptoms/chronic. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Pancreatitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/pancreatitis/all-content. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Rasmussen HH, Irtun O, Olesen SS, Drewes AM, Holst M. Nutrition in chronic pancreatitis. World J Gastroenterol. 2013;19(42):7267-7275.