An Inflamed Pancreas: Symptoms You Should Know

A clear sign of an inflamed pancreas is a feeling of acute pain right after eating, while you’re digesting, or when you’re lying on your back.
An Inflamed Pancreas: Symptoms You Should Know
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Having an inflamed pancreas is fairly common these days. You might also find it interesting to learn that doctors say it’s more common for women than men. So, today we want to give you a lot of information about pancreatitis, so you can keep it in mind for any future health issues.

1. Why do we get an inflamed pancreas every now and again?

As you probably already know, the pancreas is the organ located just behind the stomach. It has a very special and important function: it produces enzymes and chemicals that facilitate digestion. Of course, it’s also extremely important for producing insulin.

There are people nowadays who can lead a fairly normal life without a pancreas, but they have to undergo ongoing treatment to deal with their lack of the natural hormones and enzymes that the pancreas  to keep our bodies working properly.

So, it’s best not to reach that point. Your pancreas is worth taking care of every day. But what exactly causes pancreatitis?

  • Having gallstones. This is a classic trigger for pancreatitis–always keep that in mind.
  • Having poor dietary habits and leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
  • Having a weak immune system.
  • Suffering from metabolic problems.
  • Having high blood triglyceride levels.
  • Prolonged use of certain medications.
  • Having suffered a previous injury to the pancreas.
  • Different types of disorders like Reye’s syndrome or Kawasaki disease (although these aren’t very common).

You might be interested in: What Are the Symptoms of Gallbladder Stones?

2. Symptoms of an inflamed pancreas you should be aware of

Pain to watch out for

The pain can appear suddenly or come on slowly, but it’ll get to a point that it limits your daily activities. Other symptoms related to the pain in your pancreas might also start to show up:

  • Severe abdominal pain that resembles a burning sensation, focused on the left-hand side beneath the ribs. This is the main area, but the pain usually radiates throughout the abdomen like a hot disc.
  • Pain is more acute after a meal or during digestion.
  • Pain can even reach the back and shoulders. When it does, it often comes along with nausea.
  • The pain is worse when you lay on your back. Why? Your stomach is pressing down on your inflamed pancreas.

Nausea and vomiting

This usually occurs after a meal. This is when your pancreas starts to synthesize enzymes as you begin digesting your food, but the inflammation prevents it.

During the early stages of pancreatitis, people sometimes confuse their symptoms with simple indigestion. But when the discomfort persists, it’s time to recognize the “red flag” and consult your doctor.

headache from an inflamed pancreas

Daily headaches

Remember that when you have an inflamed pancreas, it weakens your entire immune system. If you notice the following symptoms, don’t ignore them:

  • Headaches that may not be very strong, but are consistent from day to day. They might cause auras, dry mouth, and dizziness.
  • Fatigue is also very common. The conditions that cause an inflamed pancreas affect the entire body: digestion is more difficult, you don’t absorb enough vitamins and nutrients, and your immune system is weaker. This puts you at high risk for any infection or disease.

3. How can you best care for your pancreas?

juices to help with an inflamed pancreas
Just taking a little better care of your entire body every day can help you avoid pancreatitis or any other problem with that organ. And if you do that, you’re also taking better care of your overall health and will have a higher quality of life. So pay attention to the following suggestions:
  • Say no to tobacco. If you’re still using tobacco products, now is the time to take a big step for your overall well-being. You’ll be generally healthier, along with preventing some serious diseases and having a healthier pancreas. Say goodbye to those cigarettes today!
  • Say no to refined sugars and flour. They’re major enemies of the pancreas – and most of the rest of your body, too. Sure, they sweeten your food and make meals tastier, but they wreak havoc on the body over time. They’re just not worth it.
  • Say yes to smarter eating. It’s never a good idea to have a lot of food all at once. Split your meals up into 5 small portions a day. Try not to eat too much red meat or processed foods, and remember that vegetables like cabbage and broccoli are great for preventing pancreas inflammation.
  • Say yes to some natural juices. There’s nothing better to add to your daily diet. Papaya, aloe, artichoke, mango, cabbage, carrots, and even beets make excellent juices, so give them a try!
  • Say yes to more fiber. Foods rich in fiber are the perfect way to start every single day.
  • Say yes to watching your weight. Obesity doesn’t do anybody any favors. We’re not saying you have to have a perfect figure without an ounce of fat, either. Just try to maintain a healthy, balanced weight and avoid the risks associated with obesity. It’s worth making these small daily efforts for the sake of your health.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.