Treatment for pancreatitis usually starts with hospitalization to treat the inflammation and to make the patient more comfortable, according to Mayo Clinic. After the condition is stabilized, the doctors determine the cause of the inflammation. Treatments vary depending on the cause of the pancreatitis.
Treatment in the hospital usually involves treating the pain with medication and preventing dehydration by giving the patient intravenous fluids, Mayo Clinic reports. Patients typically fast for a few days to give the pancreas time to recover.
A variety of conditions can be the underlying cause of pancreatitis, Mayo Clinic states. Sometimes gallstones are the culprit, or an obstruction in a bile duct. Other causes of pancreatitis include a diseased pancreas that may require surgery, or untreated alcoholism.
Based on the underlying cause, the doctor may perform surgery to remove the gallbladder if gallstones are causing the problem or may operate on the pancreas to remove diseased tissue or drain fluid, Mayo Clinic says. The patient may be directed to get treatment for alcohol dependence to help stop further damage to the pancreas.
If the pancreatitis is caused by a blocked bile duct, the doctor may perform a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, Mayo Clinic states. This treatment involves a long tube with a camera on the end used to examine the pancreas and bile ducts. The procedure can also repair the bile duct.