Understanding Pancreatitis -- Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on September 14, 2023
1 min read

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:

  • 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 distension
  • Development of diabetes if insulin-producing cells of the pancreas become damaged
  • 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.
  • You have chronic pain or diarrhea after treatment; you may have chronic pancreatitis or a complication of acute pancreatitis such as a pseudocyst.