A fairly large sized gland positioned deep in the belly, pancreas is responsible for the release of active digestive enzymes that assist in digesting food. As such, the pancreas make up an indispensable part of the digestive system and has a pivotal part to play in regulating blood glucose levels.
A condition in which this gland can become inflamed is known as pancreatitis. In this scenario, pancreatic damage happens when enzymes that aid digestion are stimulated before they are released into the small intestine. When released actively, the enzymes start assaulting the pancreas. In a condition known as acute pancreatitis there is a swift inflammation that lasts for a short time and the associated uneasiness can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain. On the other hand, chronic pancreatitis is long lasting inflammation and typically follows an incident of acute pancreatitis.
1. Upper abdominal pain
The reason for upper abdominal pain may be contributed to different causes such as gas pains or a pulled muscle. However other conditions such as pancreatic damage may require timely medical attention. In the case of pancreatic inflammation upper abdominal pain may be generalized abdominal pain without being focused in one specific area.
The pain will likely be felt in the upper abdomen and can last from a few hours to a few days. Over time, the pain may even become continuous.
By itself, this can be a difficult symptom to associate with pancreatic damage, so it becomes important to watch out for other accompanying symptoms that may point in the direction of pancreatic problems. For individuals with pancreatic inflammation, it is useful to know that the condition is often caused by gallstones or heavy alcohol use.
So if individuals suffers from either gallstones or are used to drinking frequently and also experience upper abdominal pain, they are advised to seek timely medical assistance.
2. Abdominal pain radiating to the back
Along with upper abdominal pain, individuals suffering from pancreatic problems may also complain about abdominal pain diffusing to their back. The discomfort may be aggravated after having a meal, and especially after consuming foods that have a high fat content.
Gallstones, a leading cause of pancreatic inflammation, are formed when there is too much cholesterol in an individual’s bile. Eating a diet that does not contain fatty foods can help regulate the condition and its subsequent symptoms, whereas following a diet with lots of fried foods and high triglyceride levels can increase the risk for acute pancreatitis.