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What Is Pancreatitis?

How Is Pancreatitis Treated? continued...

An acute attack of pancreatitis usually lasts a few days. An acute attack of pancreatitis caused by gallstones may require removal of the gallbladder or surgery of the bile duct. After the gallstones are removed and the inflammation goes away, the pancreas usually returns to normal.

Treatment for chronic pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis can be difficult to treat. Doctors will try to relieve the patient's pain and improve the nutrition problems. Patients are generally given pancreatic enzymes or insulin. A low-fat diet may also help.

Surgery may help relieve abdominal pain, restore drainage of pancreatic enzymes or hormones, treat chronic pancreatitis caused by blockage of the pancreatic duct, or reduce the frequency of attacks.

Patients must stop smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages, follow their doctor's and dietitian's dietary advice, and take the proper medications in order to have fewer and milder attacks of pancreatitis.

Can Pancreatitis Be Prevented?

Because most cases of pancreatitis are caused by alcohol abuse, prevention is directed at responsible drinking or no drinking at all. If heavy drinking is a concern, talk to your doctor or health care professional about a referral to an alcohol treatment center. Also, you may benefit from a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on September 11, 2015
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