What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a long gland positioned behind the stomach in the upper abdomen that secretes digestive enzymes into the small intestine. Usually, when released by the pancreas, these digestive enzymes remain inactive, and it gets activated after passing through the pancreatic duct into the small intestine. However, in some cases, the enzymes activate within the pancreas before passing into the small intestine, damaging the pancreatic tissues and causing inflammation, says Dr. Sanjoy Mandal, the best onco surgeon in Kolkata

What are the types of pancreatitis?

Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas, lasting for days. The discomfort caused by acute pancreatitis ranges from moderate to severe and, in some cases, can also turn life-threatening. Most patients with acute pancreatitis fully recover after proper treatment. In serious cases, acute pancreatitis can harm other vital organs such as kidneys, lungs and heart.

Chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a long-lasting inflammation, which mostly occurs as result of consuming excessive alcohol for a long period. Chronic pancreatitis may not show symptoms for many years and gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage.


According to Dr. Sanjoy Mandal, the best cancer surgeon, the causes of pancreatitis include:

• Excessive alcohol consumption

• Obesity

• Injury to the abdomen

• Gallstones

• Abdominal surgery

• Certain medications

• Cystic fibrosis

• Family history of pancreatic disorders

• Surgery

Digestive disorders caused by pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis can impair a patient’s ability to digest food, causing the following digestive disorders. Some of these digestive disorders are:

Nausea and Vomiting

Acute pancreatitis can cause the body to lose a lot of fluids rapidly, leading to a deficiency of important minerals. Nausea and vomiting are symptoms of acute pancreatitis, which can make it more difficult to consume enough fluids, causing dehydration.

Change in Bowel Movements

Acute pancreatitis causes the pancreas to function abnormally, leading to insufficient amounts of pancreatic enzymes in the intestines that can cause diarrhoea. The insufficient amounts of enzymes lead to malabsorption as undigested food passes quickly through the digestive tract. 

Medications to reduce acute pancreatitis pain can cause constipation. These medications slow the passage of food and cause stools to become dry, hard and difficult to pass.

Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating

One of the significant symptoms of acute pancreatitis is abdominal pain, which is felt in the middle of the upper left side of the abdomen. It can get worse after eating or drinking.

How can pancreatitis be prevented?

Limit alcohol consumption

Avoiding alcohol consumption reduces the risk of getting pancreatitis.

Eat a low-fat, healthy diet

Gallstones are a major risk factor of acute pancreatitis that is caused due to excessive cholesterol levels. To reduce the risk of gallstones, eat a low-fat, healthy diet that includes whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid full-fat dairy products and fried foods. 

Exercise daily and lose excess weight

Obese people have an elevated risk of forming gallstones, leading to acute pancreatitis. Losing excess weight, working out daily and maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help prevent gallstones from forming.

If you have been recently diagnosed with pancreatitis, you can consult the best GI surgeon in Kolkata, Dr. Sanjoy Mandal.