In the United States, alcohol is a very frequent cause of pancreatitis. The alcohol alters the secretion of pancreatic juice which results in the inflammation recognized as pancreatitis. Unfortunately, there is no amount of alcohol that I can tell you is safe, i.e. will not cause subsequent attacks of pancreatitis. We know that there is individual sensitivity. This means that an amount of alcohol that may not cause me problems may cause you to have severe pancreatitis. We also know that the more one drinks, the greater the possibility of developing pancreatitis.
It is difficult to tell you how much damage there has been to your pancreas. The height of the enzyme (amylase)elevation is a poor correlate or predictor of the degree of total or irreversible damage. In gnereal, however, low elevations of amylase that occur only once are less likely to forbode chronic damage (assuming that you are not still drinking).
With regard to the issue as to why you developed pancreatitis and not someone else who drinks an equivalent amount, there is a variability in th eeffects of alcohol. Although genetic (hereditary) causes for pancreatitis have been identified, it is currently uncertain whether alcohol-induced pancreatitis has a genetic component.
Smoking is bad but should not cause pancreatitis.
A related discussion, Pancreatitus
A related discussion, causes
I have suffered from pancreatitus since 1970 (12 years old).At the time the doctors could not give a definate diagnosis as my age went against the drinking link.I have had many attacks over the years,ranging from controllable pain to being bent double.I have always been a moderate drinker until I had a severe attack about ten years ago.My G.P told me to lay off spirits and I feel that has made a big difference.Nowadays I get a `warning`,rather like a mild stitch,then I starve myself just taking painkillers and liquids, after 1-2 days it normally disappears.Every doctor that I have spoken to about this condition says that with every attack the pancreas becomes weaker which is worrying as I still like a drink(who doesnt)and I do think that there is a link to the stress side of things ,as with my attacks. I do hope this is of some hope to somebody .
Any comments ***@****
I have read all the posts on here but none address the problem that i have just had...i have drunk alcohol now pretty heavily for the past 3 yrs. ...a few days ago i got a discomfort in my upper stomach area and then had a bowel movement that was fairly loose and floating and smelled so bad i couldn't believe it...am too scared to go to the Dr. with this...has anyone else had this problem with Pancreatitis? ...since then i have quit drinking alcohol of any kind and have had improvement in my bowel movements as far as the smell and most of the time they do not float either and are better formed....also the discomfort in my upper stomach has gone away...also had what felt like arthritis discomfort in my rib area in my back that has also gone away....have no discomfort from eating except perhaps a little gas from time to time but certainly no pain like everyone else seems to be saying that they have had....would appreciate any input on this as i am worried....also one last thing...is there any way of telling an acute attack from chronic pancreatitis?...i do know one thing even if what i have described to you all is not pancreatitis after reading the posts about what some of you have gone thru due to drinking i have had my last drink and will never touch the stuff again...thanks in advance to any help anyone out there can give me!!!
I promise this is my last post...there is one other thing about the stools including the bad smelling one is that they are kind of a yellow to orange color...i have been taking a lot of vitamin B tablets that are a very strong yellow and also some Metamusil that is orange flavored and has an orange cast to it...could that possibly cause the stools to change color and if not is the yellowish/orange color anything to worry about either?
One more thing....i have not had any weight loss,excrutiating pain,jaundice or any of the other symptoms such as vomiting or nausea either and eating never made my symptoms worse...the one day with the bowel movements that smelled extremely bad was all that i had plus the slight upper discomfort...i do have 3-5 bowel movements everyday but then i have always gone at least 3 times anyway....please need some answers from you all...thanks again.
I go back in to an endochronologist on the 25th to see how i am doing. I had two attacks and they took out my gallbladder thinking that the polyps were the culprit. After reviewing my pathology report, the Endo dr. and myself came to the conclusion that the gallbladder had NOTHING to do with my pancreatitus. The concern is on estrogen, so i will know more about this. It's very hard to find info on estrogen affect on the pancreas, i have alot of bowels problems also.
Thank God i haven't had an attack since March, and i may never have another again. But i really don't know where i stand on this very mysterious disease. If there is anyone out there who has similar history, please share, i'd be very interested in sharing notes.
I have been told I have chronic pancreatitis and recently went in for an endoscopic ultrasound study. The results were surprising - no damage to the pancreas and no sign of pancreatitis. Previous tests, lipase levels have been from 233 to 1297. Now they want to do an ERCP. Anyone had experience with this procedure? The pancreas spec thinks its a sphincter problem and I am a high risk case for this procedure. Anyone have comments regarding this procedure and their results?
I have had severe attacks since Jan of this year (2000). They happen so suddenly that it scares me. I have been to the doctor, did a barium swallow and ultrasound but nothing showed up. Shen then told me that I had a hiatal hernia, and maybe a high percentage of acid that could cause my pains. In April, I went out and had two drinks with my husband. I wound up in the bathroom with diahrea (like water), and vomiting, and stomache pains that went right through me. I was in sooo much pain! I then had another attack about a week ago right after I ate a meal and it lasted about 45 min then I was fine!
My pains were unusual though, first the diahrea, then severe vommiting, with stomache pains. My friend was there helping me and she said my lips and nose were turning a greenish color. I was in a cold sweat and I felt like I was going to pass out cold! I felt like I was going to die!
I went back to my doctor and she is now in the process of checking my blood for pancreatitis. I am not a big drinker, if I ever drink at all. I am only 24 years old, I am fit and healthy in every other way. Did any of you people find you had the diahrea with this too? I sure hope I don't have this, I am really scared. I am so afraid of dying. My husband is in the military and he is gone away right now for 2 months, but if this comes back that I have it, I am going to try to get him home. I am so scared to have another attack while my babies are here alone with me at home. Good luck to all of you, and you are in my thoughts... (please tell me if it sounds similar to your cases). Thanks! Traci
I am just getting out of the hospital after a 3 week stay with pancreatitus. I do not consume alcohol at all. My pancreatitus was attributed to a very high triglyceride count (over 10,000). My doctors all say this is something that could only happen genetically or artificially. They believe and we are testing the fact that oral estrogen can cause this artificial rise in triglycerides. One of my doctors has done some research on this and is finding that oral estrogen can have this effect so they are switching me to an estrogen patch to see if there is a difference. Of course, they can never be sure that I will have another episode of pancreatitus anyway but are using this as an extra precaution. Has anyone else heard of the hormone or estrogen connection?
I am 28 years old male software engineer from INDIA. I was working in USA for FedEx for few months.
From last six months I am getting pain in my stomach. Usually I get it once or twice in a month and it lasts for 4-5 days. Initially pain starts with stomach and then extends to both the sides on upper back. After taking painkillers tablets & injections pain reduces, but fear of getting the pain always exists.
I am not clear of what I should eat & what not. Sometimes pain becomes so severe I can't sleep without taking sleeping pills and painkiller injections.
Scanning & Endoscopy are done. The scanning report says Liver, Gall bladder, Spleen, Kidneys, Urinary bladder are normal. But pancreas, shows bulky head with heterogenous texture. Multiple calcific foci are seen within. Body and the tail region couldn't be well seen. Pancreatic duct is dilated upto 6-9 mm
Serum amylase 28 units/ltr when normal and 506 units/ltr when pains.
I am not a regular alcoholic and I rarely eat non-vegetarian food. Doctor says this may take few months or several years to cure. But How can I tolerate this pain for several years.
I have had it 3 times,first one in 1995,man there was pain bigtime amylase was 1000,that was the highest its ever been and had 2 more and not as bad. I was in the hospital 3 days each time,and my amylase was back to normal. I have been drinking alot since my wife and I were divorced. Knock on wood I havent had another attack,but after this weekend, I am going to chill on the drinking
In July of 1999 I was taken to the ER in extreme pain in all of the obvious areas of pancreatitis. I went into a coma where I remained for 7 weeks. My family was told that I would not survive the illness due to my kidneys failing and my lungs collapsing. I was placed on dialysis and given a tracheotomy. This was the worst nightmare of my life-since I was still fighting the things they were doing to me, I was given paralytics to keep me still and as a result of the drug I suffered severe paranoia. Anyway, when I awoke and shocked everybody, I was told that my pancreatitis was caused from high triglycerides (fats in your blood). The normal level is approx. 150 and I was told my levels were 4000. I am confused because they said that this was a recent increase and not accumulated over a period of time. I am 34 years old and do not consume alcohol, however, I do admit that I did not always eat right nor did I exercise.
I came home on August 30, 1999 and have had only mild pain on a few occasions-just enough to scare me to death!!! However, I did have an extreme fear of food because eating seemed to cause pain occasionally. Recently, over the past month and a half, I have experienced 3 bouts with hives all over my body. each attack was more severe than the other. My doctor did not seem too concerned but you out there who have been in the pain I have been in know that everything is a concern to us, right? Anyway, I was wondering if this was in any way connected to pancreatitis and if anyone out there had any similar experiences? Please respond-my E-mail is ***@****. Thanks in advance.
I am recovering from an episode of acute pancreatitis. My lipase went from 91 to 14,000 in just seven hours! I had 10 very painful days in hospital and I am now facing investigations into why I developed it. So far, an ultrasound hasn't shown gallstones and the CT Scan is basically normal too. My surgeon is now testing me for campylobacter bowel infection because I am getting recurring bouts of diarrhoea too.
I have three questions for anyone out there.
Does anyone know of any connection between campylobacter and pancreatitis?
Has anyone else experienced diarrhoea after acute pancreatitis?
Has anyone else experienced recurrent episodes of pain in the weeks following hospitalisation for pancreatits? Some days I feel like I'm taking one step forward and 2 back. Is this normal?
All comments welcomed.
I have just been informed after months of agonizing pain and visits in and out of the hospital, and passing Gallstones, that I too have pancreatitus.
I still, even knowing deep down, that I am in fact an alcoholic at the age of 29, still havent "really" come to terms with it.
I lost an uncle two years ago to pancreatic cancer, and am "quite" aware that it runs in my family, (both, Alcoholism and Pancreatitus), However, something...perhaps satin, is telling me that there is just NO way this could happen to me!! I cant possibly JUST STOP drinking!!! Not with a vacation in two weeks to california, and my wedding in October!!
I also am soo confused as to why the drs can narrow it down to drinking when there are sooo many that have this and it is caused in soo many other ways, perhaps i am just kidding myself, but what if it isnt due to my drinking? How will I really know? How many drs do I need to tell me it is Definately due to drinking? How stupid do I have to be in order to wait till I too die from it? Im soo scared and feel helplessly alone even though I come from a huge (Italian) family. I say Italian, because if anyone knows how close Italian families are, then you realize the last thing I should feel is alone.
I also am Loved very much by my six year old daughter and my fiance' which you think would give me enough reason NOT to want to drink again.
The Pain alone should make me want to NOT drink again!!!
Does this ever go away? will minimizing my drinking do much damage? im going out of my mind wondering wether I drink or not will REALLY make a difference at all? anybody??!!! pls give me some suggestions!!??
I suffered with chronic and acute pancreatitis. I also had a Whipple but the pancreatitis kept coming back - made me anemic and malnourished. I had to go on TPN feedings. I wrote a complete story about my experiences and the new surgery available in Minneapolis, Minnesota where you can have an islet cell transplant when you have your pancrease removed. They are having a 80+% rate of success. I had to have my pancreas removed - but I am not a diabetic because of the islet cell transplant.
Please take a few minutes to read my story. You will need to type in the web address:
Please let me know how you are doing.
I',m 19 and i don't drink and i got pancertititis for 8 days
I am a 35 year old female. Three years ago I had a systic papillary tumor removed from my pancreas. I had a whipple procedure where they removed over half of my panceas, the duodynym and gall bladder. Because there were some cancer cells found in one lymph node inside the tumor, I was advised to go ahead with a routine chemo/radiation treatment. I went through 6 weeks of radiation, once a day for 5 days, 6 weeks and a continuous infusion of chemotherapy. Since that time I have suffered from recurrent acute pancreatitis. I have had 3 ERCP's, and several other tests at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. As of yet, noone has been able to decide exactly what the problem is and how to treat it. I am very afraid that I will eventually kill off my pancreas. I seem to have attacks every 5-6 weeks. My amylase levels are usually about 2-3,000 with lipase 4,000. Because I hate going to the hospital I take pain meds at home and stay off food. The episodes usually last about 3-4 days. I am wondering if anyone out there has any suggestions for me or has had radiation to the pancreas and has had my same problem. Luckily, the tumor type that I had was not an aggressive form of cancer, and so my recovery is excellent, from the cancer. However, I really do not like pancreatitis and what it does to me and my family. Any suggestions or advice welcome.
My husband just underwent emergency surgery last night- his third within the last month. The diagnosis- acute pancreatitis. The abdominal incision from his previous surgery was re-opened and we are looking at possibly another week-long hospital stay.
This all started when my husband underwent Nissen fundoplication sugery January 6, a relatively common and non-invasive procedure, which involved a two day hospital stay. The initial surgery involved 5 small arthroscopic incisions. He was 2-1/2 days later, on Saturday. The following Tuesday he developed severe abdominal pain and was transported to the hospital. On exam he had signs and symptoms of perintonitus. He was taken into the operating room, underwent invasive surgery - this time involving a full abdominal incision- and it was revealed that in the initial surgery, his stomach was perforated. The perforation was surtured and the abdomen irrigated.
Now this latest (complication??) has me extremely concerned. My husband has never had any symptoms of pancreatitis. Yes, we had occasionally drank alcohol, but prior to the first surgery he never experienced any abdominal pain like this! I am worried that there may damage to other organs perhaps from the perintonitus or the now recently diagnosed pancreatitis. Has anyone had any similar experiences? I am very concerned that he may have damage to other organs. My husband is 41 years old, and aside from acid reflux (which prompted his decision to undergo the first surgery) has enjoyed good health. In reading your comments- it frightens me the extent of the seriousness of this disease. In watching the pain my husband went through last night my thoughts and prayers are with all of you experiencing this.
For all you sufferers of pancreatitis. I suffered with chronic pancreatitis for years. I was 42 years old when I had my pancreas removed. One doctor suggested tube feedings for an extended period of time, but the consensus was that it doesn't work to well for many people. My pancreas was no good and needed to come out. I had it done in Minnesota where they are doing islet cell transplants. This is done so you don't become a diabetic after having your pancreas removed. If anyone is facing a pancreatectomy, please read my story first - you don't need to become a diabetic. Also, you don't need to continue to suffer chronic pain. my story is on the Insulin-Free World web site at:
you can also correspond with me at: ***@****
To the discussion,
I found this webpage this morning and it is very helpful. I came down with what I thought was the flu last October 1999 and have been off work except for about 8 days. I have had tests and bloodwork done and am scheduled for a colonscopy February 2. I have had 2 catscans done and the first showed my pancreas had an enlarged head. The second, about 30 days later, revealed a normal pancreas. I also have had the constant pain in the upper right abdominal area through to my back as mentioned by some of you. The pain has since quit, thankfully. I do not know what my amylase and other levels are yet, but I feel now I may have been going through what ya'll have described as pancretitus. I rarely drink as approximately 10 years I was discovered to have gout and the first thing I had to give up was alcohol and red meat in great quanities. I was taking Nyquil, for the flu, and not eating properly for about 3 to 4 weeks and I was wondering if the alcohol in the Nyquil is the culprit.
P. S. I would like to say that my alcohol consumption is less than a six-pack a year.
regarding chad's posting--does anyone know the effects of smoking cigarettes on the pancreas--ive heard from several (somewhat dubious) sources that is aggravates the pancreas--any info would be greatly appreciated--post here or email me at ***@****-- Thank You
I am 36 years old. I suffer from chronic idiopathic pancreatitis. I had my first bout of pancreatitis in 1991. My gallbladder stop functioning and got inflammed after my firt pancreatitis attack. The doctors then removed my gallbladder. After my gallbladder was removed in 1991 I had another pancreatitis attack. For several years I did fine then in 1996 I had 6 to 7 pancreatitis attacks. In 1999 I was hospitalized 4 times with pancreatitis.
The doctors do not know what is causing my pancreatitis. I do not nor have I ever done drugs or drank alcohol. My CAT scans come back normal.
My symptoms are similar to many of the symptoms others experience with the disorder. I have chronic nausea. I have midepigastric pain which often radiates to my back. Sometimes the pain goes into my chest. I vomit bile sometimes. I do a lot of retching.
I was in the hosptial last month. I was hospitalized for 4 weeks. I was discharged from the hospital on christmas eve. While in the hospital I was given TPN. My pancreas specialist inserted a feeding tube into my nose, down my throat, and into my small bowel. I have been on tube feedings since leaving the hospital on December 24, 1999. I am supposed to be on the tube feedings for 6 weeks. Since I've been on the tube feedings, my pain has decreased dramatically. I haven't had to take pain medicine. After the feeding tube is removed I will able to eat again. I am on a lowfat diet and have taken Pancrease capsules with each meal before. I know what Kristin of PA and Trisha of Boston have gone through. I feel like I've been starving for over a year. I see the food commercials on tv and I find myself having cravings for the food that I see on tv.
My lipase and amylase levels have been in the thousands. When I was hospitalized last month, my enzymes were in the thousands and decreased slowly. My doctor felt that my pancreas was still too "hot" and decided to rest it further. This is why I'm doing the tube feedings until I see my pancreas specialist again in the future.
I have a question for the doctors at Med Help International. After reading my story, especially the part about the feeding tube, do you think that my chances for pancreatitis occurring after the feeding tube is removed is high or low? Is a feeding tube a solution to chronic pancreatitis?