I delivered twins by C-section at 33 1/2 weeks after being admitted into the hospital with severe stomach pain and vomiting. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis and was in ICU for 2 weeks. My condition worsened and I eventually was given a blood transfusion which ultimately saved my life.
Medical history: (1) Crohn's disease diagnosed in 1992 and 3 feet of small intestine removed in Dec. 1995 after repeated bowel obstructions. I have been asymptomatic since Dec. 1995 and have required no medications. I've had 2 follow up colonoscopies in the last 8 years; both showed no signs of Crohns. (2) I had my gallbladder removed two months prior to becoming pregnant (gallbladder removed March 26th, 2003, pregnant by in vitro fertilization May 21st). (3) Two weeks prior to my C-section, I was diagnosed with a liver problem that caused severe itching and I was treated with steroids and other meds. (4) I continued taking my anti-depressants during my pregnancy (20 mg. Prozac and 200 mg. Wellbutrin). I had been on those meds since 1999. I do not drink, smoke or take any drugs other than the anti-depressants.
I have tried to research pancreatitis during pregnancy to determine if it was something I did (eating habits, exercise, etc.) that caused the pancreatitis, but I am getting no answers. Can you help explain the disease and give an opinion as to why I may have gotten it based on the information provided?
Acute pancreatitis refers to inflammation of the pancreas and is associated with sudden onset of severe abdominal pain. It usually develops as a result of passage of gallstones through the common bile duct or after regular consumption of alcohol for a number of years. Several additional causes of acute pancreatitis have been described due to a variety of drugs, genetic diseases, and other types of injury to the pancreas.
Most common causes are alcohol and gallstones. I am not aware of a direct connection bewteen acute pancreatitis and pregnancy. Up to 1/3 of cases have no clear cause.
One consideration is that pregnancy increases the risk of gallstones. It is possible that this increased risk lead to gallstone formation with subsequent pancreatitis as a complication.
Followup with your personal physician is essential.
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice - the information presented is for patient education only. Please see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
Chari et al. Patient information: Acute pancreatitis. UptoDate, 2004.
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