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Pancreatitis Specialist

Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg

Gastroenterology located in Fredericksburg, VA & Stafford, VA

If you have upper abdominal pain, it could be pancreatitis. At Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg in Fredericksburg and Stafford, Virginia, the expert team of gastroenterologists can treat acute and chronic (ongoing) pancreatitis to ease your discomfort and reduce the risk of complications. Call the office to schedule an appointment or book online today.

Pancreatitis Q&A

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when your pancreas, a flat organ located behind your stomach in your upper abdomen, becomes inflamed. Your pancreas aids in digestion by producing hormones and makes the hormone insulin that your body uses to control blood sugar.

Acute pancreatitis appears suddenly but lasts just a few days; ongoing pancreatitis persists long term. Treatment with Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg can prevent life-threatening medical problems associated with pancreatitis. 

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?

Common symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Tenderness when touching your abdomen
  • Pain that radiates to your back
  • Rapid pulse
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Chronic pancreatitis also causes upper abdominal pain, as well as weight loss, oily and smelly stools, and abdominal pain that gets worse after you eat.

When left untreated, pancreatitis puts you at risk of kidney failure, infection, and breathing problems. It can also increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, diabetes, malnutrition, and cyst-like pockets in your pancreas.

What are the risk factors for pancreatitis?

Anyone can experience pancreatitis, but factors that increase your risk of developing it include:

  • Some medications
  • Alcoholism
  • High calcium levels
  • High triglycerides
  • Overactive parathyroid gland
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Infections
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Obesity
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Gallstones
  • Gallstone treatment
  • Trauma
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of pancreatitis

Maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, not smoking, and adopting other healthy lifestyle habits can reduce your risk of pancreatitis. 

How does my provider diagnose pancreatitis?

To determine if you have pancreatitis and develop a treatment plan if needed, the experts at Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg discuss your medical history and symptoms with you.

They check your vital signs and complete a physical exam, as well as blood tests, stool tests, and imaging procedures (abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs, etc.). You may need additional tests to detect or rule out other medical issues.

How is pancreatitis treated?

Your specialist could recommend one of the following treatments for pancreatitis:

Home remedies

Things you can do at home after recovering from pancreatitis include not drinking alcohol, not smoking, eating nutritious foods rich in fiber and lean protein, and drinking lots of water.

Hospital care

If you need hospital care for acute pancreatitis, providers help you eat the right foods, give you medications to control pain, and may give you intravenous (IV) fluids to hydrate you.

Additional treatments

To keep pancreatitis under control, the experts at Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg may recommend surgery, treatment for alcohol dependence, or medication changes. They often suggest making dietary changes or using pancreatic enzyme supplements. If you have another chronic disease, properly managing pancreatitis is important.

At the first sign of pancreatitis, call the Gastroenterology Associates of Fredericksburg office or schedule an appointment online today.