Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Medical History and Physical Exam for Pancreatitis

Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and do a physical exam before diagnosing pancreatitis.

Medical history

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, overall health, behaviors, and medical history.

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Ulcerative Colitis 101

Living with ulcerative colitis isn’t always easy -- it can mean dealing with symptoms such as rectal bleeding, and finding a life-long treatment that reduces inflammation and ulcerations in the lining of the colon. While the causes of ulcerative colitis (UC) are generally unknown, understanding the disease can help minimize its impact on your quality of life. Here are the facts about ulcerative colitis that can help you better manage this chronic condition, unraveled by gastroenterologist Eric...

Read the Ulcerative Colitis 101 article > >

  • Where is the pain, and what does it feel like?
  • Have you been vomiting or feeling nauseated?
  • Do the symptoms occur after drinking alcohol or eating?
  • Does sitting up or leaning forward reduce the pain?
  • Have you had similar symptoms before?
  • What antibiotics or other medicines are you taking?
  • Do you have a family history of gallstone problems?
  • Have you ever had peptic ulcer disease?
  • Do you drink large amounts of alcohol frequently?
  • Do you have cystic fibrosis?

Physical exam

Your doctor will examine you for the following signs of pancreatitis.

  • Your upper abdomen may be tender.
  • You may look very ill. (This may be a sign of severe pancreatitis. In mild disease, people may not appear sick.)
  • Your pulse may be fast (100 to 150 beats per minute).
  • Your breathing may be shallow.
  • Your skin may be yellow (jaundice), indicating possible blockage of the bile duct.
  • Purple patches may appear on your abdomen or low back, a sign that fluid has leaked from pancreatic tissues because of inflammation.
  • Your liver may be enlarged if pancreatitis is caused by alcohol abuse.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology
Last Revised May 25, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 25, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

myth and facts about constipation
what is ibs
toilet paper

top foods for probiotics
couple eating at cafe
sick child
Woman blowing bubble gum

Woman with crohns in pain
Woman with stomach pain
diet for diverticulitis
what causes diarrhea