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Adjust Your Meds

Stomach pain could be a sign your treatment isn’t working. Your doctor may try different doses of your therapies (such as pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, or PERT) to see if a bit of fine-tuning could make you feel better.

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Snack Small

Eating light bites every couple of hours is easier on the stomach than sitting down to three big meals. Try six small meals throughout the day to give your belly a break from heavy digesting.

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Even a short walk around your neighborhood can ease stress, nausea, depression, and pain. Start small if you haven’t been active -- go for 5-10 minute strolls outdoors. You can step it up over time as you start to feel stronger.

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Practice Relaxation

Pain makes you tense, and tension keeps pain going. Relaxation techniques like yoga, breathing exercises, and visualization can relax your body and ease pain.

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Pausing to quiet your body and mind can help you feel more in control of chronic pain. Choose a comfy spot, shut out distractions, and find at least 15 minutes each day to sit in silence.

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Scale Back on Fatty Foods

EPI keeps your body from breaking down fats the way it should. Keep things simple for your stomach. Choose foods with “healthy” fat like nuts, avocados, fish, and seeds. Skip the less healthy fat fare, such as dishes full of butter or lard, whole milk, red meat, and cheese.

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Drink Up

It’s easy to get dehydrated when you have EPI. Carry a water bottle with you during the day, and drink from it often. Having a prop will serve as a reminder to get your fluids in.

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Avoid Alcohol

Beer, wine, and liquor make it even harder for your body to absorb fat. They can also harm your pancreas over time. Going dry can help your stomach work better.

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Ask About Medication

Your doctor can suggest meds to help control the discomfort in your stomach. These may be over-the-counter drugs or something they can prescribe for you.

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Take Vitamins

Ask your doctor if supplements could help your stomach pain. Fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K may put back some of the nutrients you need and ease your quease.

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Don’t Smoke

Besides being bad for your overall health, smoking isn’t good for stomach pain from EPI. Find a method that works for you and kick the habit. Your doctor can help you figure out where to start.

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Get a Massage

A session with a licensed massage therapist can help your whole body unwind. It can improve your circulation and help loosen muscles you’ve been holding stiff from pain.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 10/12/2020 Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 12, 2020


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BMC Medicine: “Practical guide to exocrine pancreatic insufficiency – Breaking the myths.”

Loma Linda University Health: “Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI).”

The National Pancreatitis Foundation: “Complementary Pancreatitis Therapies.”

World Journal of Gastroenterology: “Yoga: A tool for improving the quality of life in chronic pancreatitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Stress management,” “Pancreatitis.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Choose Healthy Fats.”

Harvard Health: “The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between.”

Medscape: “Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency Treatment & Management.”

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on October 12, 2020

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

WebMD Voices

Matt E., 58
Sinking Spring, PA
If you’re newly diagnosed, take comfort in knowing it typically takes weeks, if not months, to get your diet and enzyme dosing dialed in to where EPI symptoms may be under control. Don’t get too worried by bad days early on.
Jane C., 62
Phoenix, AZ
'No alcohol' goes without saying. If you’re socializing, try virgin drinks or simple club soda and lime. Fluid intake is important. I don’t go anywhere without my water bottle. I drink coffee on good mornings, tea in the evening, and ginger ale on tough days.
Roberta L., 63
Santa Ana, CA
When you're away from home, it’s good to know where restrooms are. There are apps out there like "Sit or Squat" and "Flush". You put in your location and it gives you the nearest bathrooms. Keep or carry an extra set of clothes in case of emergency.
Joe V., 79
Winneconne, WI
Look for a good support system -- friends, family, other survivors. Keeping positive people around you helps you get through the tougher days. It’s important to remain hopeful. I’m a 14-year pancreatic cancer survivor. A positive attitude and keeping my faith helps.
Jane C., 62
Phoenix, AZ
It’s easy to feel isolated with food restrictions. I eat before we go so I’m not hungry and tempted to eat something that may make me sick. With family or close friends, I bring my own meal. They’re happy to let me heat it up, and it takes pressure off them.
Roberta L., 63
Santa Ana, CA
It's not always easy, but a positive attitude really helps. Find a quote, write it down, and carry it with you. When things get tough, read it. My favorite is: Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.
Liz J., 32
San Francisco
Some days are better than others -- and symptom severity can be influenced by our mental health and how we relate to the pain and discomfort. Meditation and deep breathing exercises have gotten me through some pretty intense episodes.

From WebMD

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