The pancreas is a crucial gland, about 8 inches in size, located between the stomach and the spine.

Like other glands, it has an endocrine function – secreting hormones into the bloodstream, such as insulin and glucagon – and an exocrine function, producing digestive enzymes.

When the pancreas becomes inflamed, acute pancreatitis can occur. This inflammation may resolve in a few days or present in a more severe form and recur several times over a prolonged period.

What Are the Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is often caused by gallbladder stones (or gallstones) but can also result from alcohol abuse.

Among the symptoms, the first one to pay attention to is pain in the upper abdomen, which may radiate to the back, causing cramps. The pain may be associated with other symptoms, such as fever, nausea, and vomiting, and in severe cases, may develop into septicemia.

Acute Pancreatitis: How Does the Diagnosis Occur?

Pain is the first crucial red flag. Blood tests will then confirm the diagnosis: in the case of pancreatitis, the values of amylase and lipase, two enzymes, increase.

The physician may prescribe other tests, from an ultrasound to a CT scan of the abdomen.

Acute Pancreatitis and Nutrition

Acute pancreatitis is an abdominal inflammation, and like other abdominal inflammations, it concerns nutrition.

Gallbladder stone formation is also closely linked to the excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates and low fiber intake, along with obesity or sudden weight loss.

After an acute pancreatitis episode, following a low-fat, high-protein diet is essential. This means introducing fish, poultry, tofu, beans, lentils, and other legumes. Antioxidants are also vital.

Fatty, fried, spicy foods, and alcohol can further irritate the pancreas and cause pain, so they should be avoided as much as possible.

In addition, as they can increase inflammation, fruit juices, carbonated and sugary drinks, sausages, red meat, and generally foods high in salt and low in water should also be avoided.

How Is Acute Pancreatitis Treated?

If acute pancreatitis manifests in a mild form, 2-3 days of fasting, possibly combined with an IV to replenish the body of lost fluids, will be sufficient.

Surgery and hospitalization may be necessary in more severe cases. In any case, the specialist will guide you through the most appropriate therapy.