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Chronic Pancreatitis

Hi,

I'm 17 and live in Birmingham, UK. I have been suffering from pain attacks for about 2 years. I had a pain attack in January 08 and then the pain stayed around for ages, I went to my GP after a week of the pain and he said I was jaundice and suspected gallstones, he referred me to a jaundice clinic and a week later i was still in pain and hadn't heard anything off of the clinic. I went to the hospital and they said i have pancreatitis caused by a gall stone blocking me. Once my pancreatitis had settled they discharged me to bring me back in as an out patient to have my gall bladder removed, before they could do this i was bought back into hospital because i had cholecystitis, once that had cleared up i had my gallbladder taken out in emergency surgery.

The problem is i still have pain attacks now. My surgeon told me i was still healing from the surgery, i had the surgery on February 18th. I went to my Doctor today and he told me he suspects chronic pancreatitis and has taken some bloods. Am i not too young for that? I'm really worried and whenever i think about it tears come to my eyes. I've read that more than half the people diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis die within the first 7 years of being diagnosed.
1 Responses
82861 tn?1333457511
It's not at all unusual for people with gallstones to develop pancreatitis.  If a stone gets lodged in just the wrong place in the ducts, the pancreatic enzymes can't drain properly to the small intestine.  The result is that those enzymes, instead of digesting the food you eat, they end up digesting the pancreas itself.  On top of that, the pancreas is one of the more delicate organs of the body.  Once it gets disturbed, it tends to keep complaining for quite some time.  Does that mean it will never go away? Not at all.  Because your initial problem didn't reside within the pancreas itself (like a tumor or a pseudo cyst) your odds of a complete recovery over time are much better.

Age has nothing to do with pancreatitis.  Matter of fact, the biggest cause of pancreatitis is alcohol.  Sadly, many chronic panc patients here in the US are treated like dirt because the nurses and doctors assume they're alcoholics.  I'm sure your doc has already told you, but for anyone else reading, alcohol is 100% off the menu for pancreatitis patients.

Don't let the word "chronic" scare you.  Roughly speaking, acute means only sudden onset.  Chronic, in your case, means that you've had it for a while.  It takes time for the pancreas to settle down after an acute attack, so the usual treatment is to avoid alcohol and rich fatty foods while treating the pain and nausea with medication.  You're so young that you will very likely recover just fine as long as you mind what you put in your mouth and let your pancreas rest and heal.  It's not going to happen overnight though.  :-)
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