SYMPTOMSAcute cases: A sudden attack of severe burning or stabbing pain in the upper abdomen, possibly accompanied by nausea and vomiting. The pain may spread to the back and is made worse by moving. Food, alcohol, and vomiting may worsen the pain.
Chronic cases: The pain is milder and pain attacks do not come on suddenly. There is excessive gas, muscle aches, and fever. Permanent damage to the pancreas can occur, because the constant inflammation can produce fibrosis in that organ. The chronic state results in irreversible changes in the gallbladder.
Other symptoms of pancreatitis include abdominal swelling and distension, hypertension, sweating, and abnormal fatty stools.
Diabetes, digestive problems, and cancer can also result, as well as hearing, respiratory, and kidney failure.
CAUSESPancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. Normal cells are replaced with scar tissue and calcium deposits. It frequently produces mild diabetes.
The most frequent causes of pancreatitis are drinking alcohol, viral infection, and diseases of the bile ducts or gallbladder. A diet rich in fats and meat lays a solid foundation for pancreatitis to occur. Other causes include surgical procedures, diagnostic procedures, and a considerable variety of prescribed medications. Oral contraceptives, steroids, estrogen, and ACTH can also do it.
To this list should be added abdominal injury, obesity, poor nutrition, and electric shock.
Certain diseases can also induce it: hepatitis, mumps, and possibly anorexia nervosa.
The pancreas produces two important hormones: insulin and glucagon; both of which regulate blood sugar levels and aid digestion. As a result, pancreatitis can produce glucose intolerance and diabetes.
With only supportive care, the acute symptoms will fade. But some will continue to have chronic symptoms arising so often, for months or years. This is called chronic relapsing pancreatitis.
It is wise to do everything possible to avoid the chronic condition or, if it is has begun, try to clear it up as much as possible.
Fast and take only water until the acute symptoms subside. Food in the stomach triggers the pancreas to start working, and this you do not want just now.
Give slippery elm enemas. Cut the slippery elm bark into very small pieces, and put a large handful in 4 quarts of water. Simmer for 1-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Then let it set, covered for 30 minutes. Strain and use it warm. Drink it and use in enemas.
Place a heaping teaspoonful of lobelia in a cup of boiling water and let it steep for a half hour; then add a tablespoon of this lobelia tea to each cup of slippery elm tea, and drink. Also drink a cup a hour before each meal and before retiring. This will both relax and cleanse the digestive tract.
After coming off the fast because the acute phase is over, eat a low calorie, low fat diet. In chronic pancreatitis, that organ often no longer produces lipase normally. Without it, fats cannot be properly handled by the body. So eat a low fat diet for the rest of your life.
Go on a low sugar diet. A heavy diet of refined carbohydrates can cause pancreatitis.
Say good-bye to all alcoholic beverages, and also to caffeine.
Avoid overeating. This also overworks the pancreas.
There are no medications which can solve this problem. Indeed, it was medications which may have led to it; continuing to take them may only intensify the disease.
Even though total pancreatactomy may be recommended, avoid surgery. It will probably only worsen the condition.
In case of a very serious acute crisis, give frequent hot steam pack fomentations to the abdomen. Give charcoal internally, and apply it as a poultice over the affected area. Place the person on a strict program of what he eats and drinks.
ENCOURAGEMENTThe sinner may become a child of God, an heir of heaven. If he will but cling to Christ and, by faith, obey His Word, he will be enabled to fulfill God's plan for His life.