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A Complete Guide to Chronic Pancreatitis – Symptoms, and Treatment

What is Chronic Pancreatitis?


Chronic pancreatitis is a form of pancreatitis which occurs in the long term and does not get better. On the other hand, pancreatitis is an ailment associated with the swelling of the pancreas. The problem with this disease is that when the pancreas is swelled up, then the enzymes it produces, do harm to the pancreas itself.


This condition also results in the release of harmful toxins and inflammatory cells which does damage to the heart and lung. Apart from chronic pancreatitis, there is one more form of this disease called acute pancreatitis. However, the chronic type is considered more dangerous as it can cause permanent damage to the organ.


Because of the scarring, there is a chance that the pancreas will develop cysts and stones which later on can block the duct. A blocked duct is harmful to the body as it helps in transporting digestive juices and healthy enzymes to the stomach in order to carry out digestion. This will also distract the regulation of blood sugar in one’s body.


Chronic pancreatitis is most likely to affect those who consume excessive amounts of alcohol and other intoxicating items. Men are more prone to this disease when compared to women. Usually, patients are under the age range of thirty to forty years. In some cases, the children can also inherit this condition from their biological parents.


Why Does Chronic Pancreatitis Happen?


There are several reasons which can turn out to be the factor causes of chronic pancreatitis.

  • The major reason for this harmful disease is alcohol abuse. About seventy per cent of total pancreatitis cases are because of abnormal alcohol consumption.
  • Inflammatory bowel syndrome is also one factor to be held responsible for chronic pancreatitis. Under this disease, the digestive tract of the body starts swelling up.
  • The third possible cause can be an autoimmune disease. Under the influence of autoimmune disease, the body starts attacking its tissues and healthy cells misguidedly.
  • A contracted pancreatic duct can also cause chronic pancreatitis as it is the tube that transports the enzymes commencing from the pancreas to the small intestine.
  • Any sort of blockage in the pancreatic tube that is either stuffed because of pancreatic stone or gallstones.
  • A high level of fats or calcium in the blood is another factor reason for chronic pancreatitis.


Chronic Pancreatitis Symptoms


Many people may not even feel chronic pancreatitis symptoms at first. However, the stages of this disease can get levelled up when the patient is still experiencing indications. Some common signs of chronic pancreatitis are as follows.

  • Pain in the stomach. This is likely to be more intense in the upper section of the abdomen.
  • One could experience diarrhoea, vomiting, and nausea-like feeling.
  • Sticky stools which are fatty and appear pale looking.
  • Sudden feeling of more thirst than usual along with short breathlessness.
  • The patient can also experience extreme weight loss all of a sudden.
  • Internal bleeding and intestinal bleeding are also advanced symptoms of chronic pancreatitis.
  • Jaundice.

The major symptom of chronic pancreatitis is extreme pain. It can be around for a few days and then can also increase as time passes. The advanced stage of the disease can even make the pain constant.


How to Diagnose Chronic Calcific Pancreatitis?


Chronic Calcific pancreatitis is difficult to diagnose during its early stages. Unlike most diseases, this ailment is not solely diagnosed with blood tests as it is tricky to find out changes in the pancreas by the same method. Nevertheless, it can be used for finding out the amount of pancreatic enzymes.


In most cases, the doctor asks for a stool sample as it makes it easy to identify by testing the fat in the sample. An excess amount of fat signifies that the body is not absorbing the essential nutrients well. X-rays, MRI, CT scans, and ultrasounds can also be used for an accurate diagnosis.


Chronic Pancreatitis Treatment


There are a number of chronic pancreatitis treatment options available. The sole motive of the therapy is to reduce the intensity of abdomen pain and heal the digestive tract. However, the damage already done cannot be reversed but fortunately, the medications can help handle the symptoms better.

  • Medications are the number one treatment option that is mostly preferred. This can involve medicines dedicated to reducing the pain or artificial enzymes if the body has a less number count to carry out essential functions. Insulin can also be given to diabetic patients.
  • Endoscopy is another method that is used to treat the blockage and extract the stones. Under this method, a long tube is inserted through the mouth all the way to the stomach to resolve the issues inside.
  • Surgery is the last option that is not often required by most people. This option is considered in case the pancreas is not responding to the medications or endoscopy. This also helps in treating narrow ducts.




Chronic pancreatitis is an ailment that affects the pancreas and its functioning. Taking proper treatment measures can help feel the patient better. 

Medanta Medical Team
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