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Enlarged Pancreas: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

Symptoms of an Enlarged Pancreas continued...

The doctor will ask questions and do a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may also order blood, urine, or stool tests and a scan to diagnose and confirm the cause of an enlarged pancreas. For example, you may have an X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan (computerized tomography scan), ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography), or MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography).

Other symptoms that may accompany an enlarged pancreas include:

Treatments for an Enlarged Pancreas

Treatment depends upon the cause of the enlarged pancreas.

Treatment for acute pancreatitis includes a hospital stay with:

  • Intravenous (IV) fluids
  • Antibiotics if necessary
  • Medication for pain

Treatment may also involve removing gallstones or the gallbladder. The doctor will likely also advise you to stop smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages, and eating fatty meals.

Treatment for chronic pancreatitis also may include hospitalization. Treatment and self-care are similar to that for acute pancreatitis. Once you resume a normal diet, you may need pancreatic enzymes to aid digestion.

Treatment for various pancreatic conditions may include a specialized technique using an endoscope. It is called therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). A doctor can use this technique to:

  • Enlarge a duct opening
  • Remove pancreatic or bile duct stones
  • Place a stent to keep a pancreatic or bile duct open
  • Dilate or stretch a narrowed pancreatic or bile duct
  • Drain pseudocysts

In some cases, surgery or other procedures are needed.

Treatment for pancreatic cancer may include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on January 23, 2015
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