Pancreatitis

Definition

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach. It releases the hormones, insulin and glucagon, as well as digestive enzymes that help you digest and absorb food.

Alternative Names

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

For more information, see the specific type of pancreatitis:

  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic abscess
  • Pancreatic pseudocyst

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Clammy skin
  • Fatty stools
  • Fever
  • Mild yellowing of the skin (jaundice)
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Weight loss
  • Vomiting

Signs and tests

Tests that may be performed include:

  • Abdominal x-rays
  • Abdominal ultrasound or CT scans
  • Blood and urine tests

See the specific types of pancreatitis for more information.

Treatment

See the specific types of pancreatitis.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

See the specific types of pancreatitis.

Complications

See the specific types of pancreatitis.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have persistent abdominal pain or jaundice, with or without other symptoms.

Prevention

See the specific types of pancreatitis.

References

Banks PA, Freeman ML; Practice Parameters Committee of the American College of Gastroenterology. Practice guidelines in acute pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2006;101:2379-2400.

Frossard JL, Steer ML, Pastor CM. Acute pancreatitis. Lancet. 2008;371:143-152.

Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 146.