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Understanding Pancreatitis -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Pancreatitis?

For acute pancreatitis symptoms include:

  • Sudden, intense pains in the middle of the upper abdomen, often beginning 12 to 24 hours after a large meal or a bout of heavy drinking. The pain may radiate to your back.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Clammy skin.
  • Abdominal distention and tenderness.
  • Rapid pulse.

Chronic pancreatitis symptoms include:

Recommended Related to Digestive Disorders

Enlarged Spleen: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What is the spleen and what causes an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)? The spleen sits under your rib cage in the upper left part of your abdomen toward your back. It is an organ that is part of the lymph system and works as a drainage network that defends your body against infection. White blood cells produced in the spleen engulf bacteria, dead tissue, and foreign matter, removing them from the blood as blood passes through it. The spleen also maintains healthy red and white blood cells and platelets;...

Read the Enlarged Spleen: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments article > >

  • Intense, long-lasting abdominal pain that may radiate to the back and chest. The pain may be persistent or intermittent.
  • Excessively foul, bulky stools.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Weight loss due to malabsorption of food.
  • Abdominal distention.
  • Development of diabetes if insulin-producing cells of the pancreas become damaged.


Call Your Doctor if:

  • You think you may have pancreatitis. Patients with acute pancreatitis must have professional care to avoid serious, possibly life-threatening complications. Chronic pancreatitis also requires professional evaluation and treatment.
  • You continue to lose weight after treatment for pancreatitis; you may have a complication that prevents the body from digesting food properly.
  • You are pale, cold, clammy, have a rapid heartbeat, or are breathing rapidly; you may be in shock and need emergency care.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Lisa B. Bernstein, MD on March 18, 2015

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