Chronic pancreatitis is a long-standing inflammatory disease of the pancreas leading to irreversible change in its structure and function, characterized by pain and other abdominal complaints.
In developed countries, chronic pancreatitis is usually due to alcoholism. The other cause is calcification of pancreas.
Abdominal trauma, surgery, congenital anomalies, cystic fibrosis, hyperparathyroidism are rare causes of chronic pancreatitis.
Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis:
- Abdominal pain is the main symptom in majority of patients.
- The classical pain is mid-abdominal, persistent, and precipitated by heavy meals, with radiation to the back. It is relieved by sitting up and leaning forwards.
- Bouts of flare ups of symptoms of acute pancreatitis such as severe pain in the mid abdomen with vomiting,
- Bulky, greasy and foul smelling stool.
- Weight loss and anorexia.
- Diabetes occurs in 50% of patients suffering from chronic pancreatitis.
- Obstructive jaundice as a complication of cancer or pseudo cyst.
- Signs of vitamin and nutritional deficiency.
Pancreas release enzymes for digestion, they are destroyed due to chronic pancreatitis resulting into improper food digestion.
Chronic Pancreatitis Diet Plan
There are several foods best suited for persons suffering from chronic pancreatitis.
- Yogurt as it contains probiotics and helps to reduce pancreatic inflammation.
- Tomato soup
- Spinach soup.
- Blueberries contain antioxidant which acts on free radicals.
- Grapes contain antioxidant called resveratrol.
- Meat and other fat products should be avoided.
- Broccoli, salads, fish, cauliflower, poultry and olive oil can be used.
- Keep away from alcohol and caffeine.
Treatment of Chronic Pancreatitis
- Major issues are control of pain, diabetes, malabsorption and managing the complications.
- Conservative treatment is adopted in most of the cases; patients with alcoholic pancreatitis should be advised to discontinue alcohol.
- Surgical intervention for pain relief may be necessary.
- Pancreatic stenting and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy are other alternatives doctors opt for after evaluating the patient’s condition.