The pain of pancreatitis is one of the most powerful in the entire medical clinic. The disease can be an acute or chronic process, but in both cases, it is usually accompanied by intense discomfort. Also, there may be other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and fever.
Pancreatitis is a gastrointestinal pathology that consists of inflammation of the pancreas. This organ is located in the upper abdomen and is responsible for producing enzymes that are involved in the digestion process.
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If the pathology is mild, it can be resolved without intervention. However, it can also progress to very serious complications. The pain caused by pancreatitis can be disabling.
What is pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis consists of inflammation of the pancreas. This swelling occurs through the action of the digestive enzymes that are produced in it. That is, the substances in the digestion, instead of being activated once they have been released into the intestinal tract, are activated in the pancreas and damage it.
Numerous situations can trigger this pathology in the first place, alcohol, which represents one of the most frequent causes. Some medications or surgical procedures also untie it.
On the other hand, people who are obese and have high blood triglycerides, or high calcium, also have a higher risk of having it. Finally, pancreatitis can be secondary to an infection or a tumour in the pancreas.
Chronic pancreatitis is one that lasts over time, recurring for months and even years. It can be caused by several episodes of acute pancreatitis that, when repeated, form scar tissue in the pancreas, altering its function.
What symptoms does it produce?
Both chronic and acute pancreatitis present with abdominal pain. It is an intense discomfort that is located in the upper abdomen, near the stomach, and sometimes spreads to the back. However, the other accompanying symptoms vary.
In the acute presentation, nausea, vomiting, and fever are common. However, the chronicle does not show these signs. It is characterized by liquid and smelly stools, in addition to weight loss.
How is pancreatitis pain diminished?
The pain associated with pancreatitis can last from hours to become a constant symptom in a chronic case. Many times, it gets worse after eating or lying down. So, first of all, there are several non-pharmacological measures to alleviate it.
It is recommended to try to remain standing or sitting when the pain appears. Besides, it is essential to adopt a series of healthy lifestyle habits. The first thing is to stop drinking alcohol. In turn, maintain a healthy diet, avoiding very heavy and high-fat foods.
In the face of any chronic pain, many doctors recommend activities that help manage sensations and emotions—for example, meditation or yoga. Learning to focus attention on something other than pain can improve pain control.
Prescribing and prescribing pain relievers is another option. However, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories that are available over the counter, even, are often insufficient due to the intensity of pancreatic discomfort.
Current options for treating pancreatitis pain
Given the high prevalence of this pathology and the impact that pain has on people who suffer from it, new techniques have been designed to alleviate the symptoms of these patients. First, the most effective surgical treatment is pancreatic jejunostomy.
This intervention is performed in people with pancreatitis who also have a dilation of the pancreatic duct. The stones or stones formed and lodged inside are the main reason.
Surgery consists of opening the pancreas and removing those stones that obstruct the duct. Once this is accomplished, the pancreas joins the jejunum, which is the second portion of the small intestine.
On the other hand, in cases where this problem does not exist with the canal, other techniques can be performed. However, they have not been as effective as the previous one. For example, one of them is the section of the nerves to try to interrupt the nerve transmission of pain.
Change habits and consult with a professional
What we must remember is that pancreatitis is a pathology that presents with pain, either acute or chronic. Therefore, the first thing is to maintain certain appropriate habits, such as avoiding alcohol and taking care of your diet.
It is the doctor who must decide the most pertinent treatment for each patient. However, at present, when the pain does not stop under analgesic therapy, surgical techniques can be used. The results are not always entirely satisfactory yet, but they are still being studied.