What is it? Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreas, a gland located near the stomach, becomes inflamed. The pancreas plays an important role in digestion by producing enzymes that help break down food in the small intestine. When the pancreas becomes inflamed, these enzymes can leak into the surrounding tissue and cause damage to the pancreas and other organs.

Why it happens?
Gallstone pancreatitis is the most common type of pancreatitis and occurs when a gallstone blocks the common bile duct, which is the tube that carries bile from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. When the bile duct is blocked, the flow of digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine is also blocked, causing the pancreas to become inflamed.


The most common symptom of gallstone pancreatitis is severe abdominal pain that may radiate to the back or chest. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, fever, rapid heartbeat, and a swollen or tender abdomen. In some cases, the skin and eyes may become yellow, a condition known as jaundice.


Diagnosis of gallstone pancreatitis typically involves a physical exam, blood tests to check for elevated levels of pancreatic enzymes, and imaging tests such as an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. In some cases, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) may be necessary to remove gallstones or to drain fluid from the pancreas.


Treatment for gallstone pancreatitis typically involves hospitalization and supportive care, including pain management, hydration, and monitoring of vital signs. In some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent infection. If the pancreatitis is severe, surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder and any gallstones that are causing the blockage.

Follow Up

After treatment for gallstone pancreatitis, it is important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly to prevent the formation of new gallstones. Patients may also need to take medication to help dissolve gallstones or to manage any underlying conditions that may contribute to the development of gallstones, such as diabetes or high cholesterol. Regular follow-up appointments with a healthcare provider may also be necessary to monitor for any complications or recurrence of pancreatitis.

Other types of Pancreatitis

In addition to gallstone pancreatitis, there are two other main types of pancreatitis: acute, non-gallstone pancreatitis and chronic pancreatitis. Acute non gallstone pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including heavy alcohol consumption, high levels of triglycerides in the blood, infections, and certain medications. Treatment for acute pancreatitis may involve hospitalization, supportive care, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Chronic pancreatitis is a long-term inflammation of the pancreas that can cause scarring and damage to the pancreas and lead to complications such as diabetes, malnutrition, and pancreatic cancer. It is often caused by heavy alcohol consumption, but can also be caused by genetic factors, autoimmune disorders, and other underlying conditions. Treatment for chronic pancreatitis may involve medication, lifestyle changes, and surgery to relieve blockages in the pancreatic duct or to remove damaged tissue.