The initial treatment of pancreatitis requires hospitalization and includes fasting, pain management and intravenous fluids, explains Mayo Clinic. Once the pancreatitis is controlled, the goal of treatment is management of the underlying cause. This may include removing a bile duct obstruction, gallbladder surgery, pancreatic surgery and treatment of alcohol dependence.
Patients with chronic pancreatitis may require additional treatment that includes pain management, enzymes that improve digestion and dietary changes, according to Mayo Clinic. The causes of pancreatitis include alcoholism, cigarette smoking, cystic fibrosis, certain medications and gallstones. Others include abdominal injury, pancreatic cancer, abdominal surgery, infection and elevated triglyceride levels.
The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include upper abdominal pain, tenderness, vomiting and nausea, explains Mayo Clinic. Patients with chronic pancreatitis may experience unintentional weight loss, smelly stools and upper abdominal pain. Pancreatitis can cause serious complications that include pseudocyst formation, infection, difficulty breathing, pancreatic cancer and kidney failure. Damage to insulin producing cells in the pancreas can cause diabetes. Patients may also experience malnutrition because the organ is responsible for the production of digestive enzymes.
Pancreatitis is diagnosed with blood tests that measure pancreatic enzyme levels, according to Mayo Clinic. Other tests include stool examination, computerized tomography, abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging.