Symptoms of a pancreas infection, or pancreatitis, include indigestion, nausea, unintentional weight loss, bloating with a distended stomach and upper abdominal pain that extends from the left side to the back, according to Healthline. A patient suffering from chronic pancreatitis may also have foul-smelling fatty stools due to nutrient malabsorption.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation and swelling of the pancreas, an organ located behind the stomach that secretes enzymes for food digestion, explains Healthline. There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation caused by gallstones or alcoholism that usually clears up over a few days with treatment. Chronic pancreatitis involves recurring and long-term inflammation that is a result of alcohol abuse or an autoimmune disease, and it may cause permanent damage to the pancreas.
Treatment for both types of pancreatitis usually involves hospitalization to allow the pancreas to rest and heal, notes Healthline. Treatment options include changing to a low-fat diet with lots of fluids; lifestyle changes, such as stopping smoking; and surgery to correct underlying causes, such as gallstones. There are also alternative techniques for pain control, such as yoga, meditation and relaxation exercises that take the patient's mind off her discomfort.