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Chronic gastritis or Chronic pancreatitis?

My husband is 61 years old and has been a heavy drinker for past 30 years. For the last 10 years he has had periodic "attacks" which have sent him to the emergency room numerous times (every time a different "diagnosis"). After so many years of various tests (and gallbladder removal, hearth caths which showed no blockages), our primary doctor thought this might be chronic pancreatitis (although enzymes are usually in "normal" range).  A CT scan was performed this August and it shows only chronic gastritis--thickening of stomach lining; nothing showed up on the pancreas. Husband now has appointment with gastroenterologist next week. Husband stopped drinking from May-August of this year -- dropped 12 pounds -- now drinking again and guess what... "attacks" are back. Could this also be pancreas-related although nothing showed up on CT scan? Pain starts in upper abdomen and radiates to his back; so bad it will double him over sometimes. Has stools that "float" in toilet sometimes and have to clean toilet every few days because of "oil slick". What questions should we ask the gastro doctor next week? Thank you for your time.
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Avatar universal
I can understand your worry about your husband's digestion problems. The pancreas is an important body organ that produces vital digestive enzymes and supplies insulin to deal with sugar in the blood. Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, reports that there are 25 digestive disorders with some having the same symtoms. Johns Hopkins White Paper on Digestive Disorders reads the the chief cause of pancreasitis is drinking. An affected pancreas may not produce the neccessary digestive enzymes required, and may affect the way the pancreas deals with sugar in the blood. The appointment with a Gastroenterologist will be able to pinpoint the problems and pain your husband suffers. Bowels that float with mucus is another symptom of a disorder called Irriable Bowel Syndrome, and maybe more. In the meantime, I can give to you a governmet website that lists, explains, give symptoms, and cures for digestive problems from A to Z. Go to http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov. Click on the homepage on Digestive, and the next page lists the digestive disorders. You can gather all the information you need to ask the Gastroenterologist.

Good luck.

Harrald
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