What IS Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis, as defined by Websters Dictionary is:
noun Pathology .
inflammation of the pancreas.
It’s obviously a bit more convoluted then just an inflammation, but you get the drift. This is just a very very stripped version of the functions of your pancreas, and what exactly happens when your pancreas is going through when you have pancreatitis. I am by no means a doctor, and until now, I’m really not fully versed in pancreas knowledge as it is!
Your Pancreas is not just an organ. It’s job is to assist in digesting food, but it’s also a gland so it secretes hormones, most of which involve the digestion of sugars and carbohydrates.
When your pancreas becomes injured, irritated, inflamed, be it from physical damage, gallstones, or dietary issues, it can cause it to secrete the enzymes normally released into your intestines to become unregulated and secrete into the pancreas itself. These digestive enzymes don’t stop working just because they’re not where they’re sposed to be! So in turn, your pancreas starts to be digested by these enzymes. This is usually where all the pain comes from. The more damaged the pancreas becomes, the more scar tissue results, and the more dysfunctional your pancreas becomes. It’s really a vicious cycle! Getting it under control is difficult, usually it comes down to cutting out all food and drink for a few days to calm your digestive functions, and then get you started back on liquids that require very little work on the part of your pancreas to digest.
Pancreatic dysfunction is nothing to mess around with! Not everyone who has pancreatitis has diabetes, but it’s a very real possibility! A punctured pancreas, a severe pancreatic attack…these things can absolutely end really badly! Not only is it horribly painful, but not watching your diet, returning to alcohol, choosing to add stress to an already unstable pancreas, all of these things can take a case of acute pancreatitis (an attack here and there…maybe only one in your lifetime) to chronic pancreatitis, a condition that causes 24 hour pain, disruption in day to day function, and will most likely lead to diabetes, and potentially cancer.
It should always be in the back of your mind. You really can’t live without your pancreas! And it’s a very slippery slope once you get started! And believe me, that kind of pain…well I don’t wish it on my enemies.
It took me a few days of agony, pain and discomfort before I actually went to the doctor (which actually ended up being the ER). And trust me, you WILL need to see a doctor if your pancreas is giving you trouble. If for no other reason then to be able to keep you hydrated and up on your nutrition while they get your pancreas to calm down, and get yourself some pain meds to keep things tolerable. I was on heavy pain medication every 4 hours, and was still in unbearable pain 50% of my day the entire time I was in the hospital (12 days). I was then in horrible pain for 6 weeks after that, and even have bad days up to this point. Please don’t mess around!
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