Pancreatitis in Kansas City, MO

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Pancreatitis is a medical condition that develops when the pancreas becomes inflamed and swollen and is inhibited from performing its normal tasks. A large gland, the pancreas, facilitates digestion. The gland sends important digestive enzymes into the small bowel to help digest food. The pancreas also excretes the hormones insulin and glucagon into the bloodstream, which helps the body regulate the manner in which it converts sugar for fuel.

Pancreatitis may occur in various forms. The acute type of pancreatitis describes the sudden, short-term swelling of the pancreas. Most cases of acute pancreatitis resolve with the right form of care. The chronic form of pancreatitis often arises more gradually and may last much longer. Chronic pancreatitis is often connected to heavy alcohol use.

Our gastroenterologists offer pancreatitis treatment in Kansas City, MO. If you or a member of your family is experiencing pancreatitis, expert treatment can be received at Digestive Health Specialists.

Pancreatitis occurs when the digestive proteins called enzymes discussed above are activated too early and begin to aggravate and attack the pancreas. The primary causes of pancreatitis involve:

  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Metabolic conditions
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Alcohol use
  • Gallstones
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Infection
  • Elevated amounts of calcium
  • Injury or trauma
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Overactive parathyroid gland
  • Family history of pancreatitis
  • Abdominal injuries
  • Elevated amounts of triglyceride in the blood
  • Some medications

Symptoms can become noticeable when the pancreas becomes inflamed. The main symptoms and signs of pancreatitis are included below:

  • Foul-smelling, oily stools
  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Fever
  • The abdomen is tender to the touch or swollen
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to your back, especially after eating
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience these symptoms or need treatment for pancreatitis in Kansas City, MO, we urge you to reach out to our gastroenterology facility right away.

Treatment methods for acute pancreatitis generally involve IV fluids, pain medications, and fasting to rest the pancreas. When pancreatitis is advanced enough, a surgical approach may be recommended to remove the necrotic or damaged cell tissue if an infection develops. In the event acute pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, it could be addressed with a surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder. Our seasoned specialists at Digestive Health Specialists can determine the best approach to care.

Treatment approaches for chronic pancreatitis include:

  • Treatment for alcoholism
  • Diet modifications – typically low fat
  • Pancreas surgery
  • Insulin use
  • Low-fat diet
  • Administration of enzymes to improve digestion
  • Stop drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Stop smoking
  • Procedures to remove bile duct blockages
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What role does diet play in managing pancreatitis?

Dietary changes can play a crucial role in managing pancreatitis and preventing symptoms from flaring up. Reducing fat intake, especially saturated fats, is important because high-fat foods can prompt the pancreas to release digestive enzymes, potentially worsening the condition. Eating smaller, more frequent meals helps prevent overloading the pancreas. Additionally, consuming easy-to-digest foods rich in antioxidants, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can enhance digestive health and decrease inflammation.

Is it possible for children to have pancreatitis?

It's uncommon but not unheard of for children to develop pancreatitis. Various factors, such as abdominal injury, certain medications, infections, congenital pancreatic abnormalities, or genetic predispositions, can lead to this condition in children. Symptoms often mimic those in adults, including abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and elevated pancreatic enzymes. Prompt diagnosis and treatment are essential to prevent complications.

Can pancreatitis lead to any health complications?

Complications from pancreatitis depend on whether the condition is acute or chronic.

Acute pancreatitis typically resolves over time without lasting effects, but some patients might develop fluid deposits near the pancreas that require medical drainage.

Chronic pancreatitis, however, tends to have a longer resolution period and usually follows multiple episodes. It is associated with a higher risk of long-term complications such as diabetes, weight loss, chronic pain, and an increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

If you or someone you love suffers from pancreatitis, it is important to get treatment from a skilled gastroenterologist. Whether it is acute or chronic pancreatitis, the GI experts at Digestive Health Specialists can offer the personalized services you seek. We are committed to serving with patient-centric compassion while following the highest clinical standards. To meet with a gastrointestinal specialist providing pancreatic treatment in Kansas City, MO, contact our staff today.

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