Munson Health
Chronic Pancreatitis

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by McCoy K

Risk Factors

Chronic pancreatitis is more common in men. Other factors that may increase your risk of chronic pancreatitis include:
Personal health history, such as:
Conditions that obstruct the passageway from the pancreas to the small intestine include:
  • Trauma
  • Tumors
  • Pseudocysts—build up of fluids and debris
Chronic pancreatitis is a risk factor for developing pancreatic cancer.


The goals of treatment for chronic pancreatitis are to relieve pain and manage nutritional and metabolic problems.
Treatment may be started in a hospital until you are stabilized. Stabilization can be done with:
  • IV fluids
  • Nasogastric tube—A long, thin tube is threaded through your nose and into your stomach for feeding.


Your doctor may recommend:
  • Prescription pain relievers
  • Pancreatic enzymes
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Medications to control diabetes if it develops

Lifestyle Changes

Your doctor will advise you to stop drinking alcohol. This may require counseling or a rehabilitation program. Stopping your alcohol intake is the most important intervention in your treatment.
Your doctor may also suggest that you restrict the amount of fat in your diet. Pancreatic damage interferes with the body's ability to process fats. A registered dietitian can work with you and create a healthy meal plan.


Surgery may be needed in severe cases:
  • Necrosectomy—Removal of dying or dead (necrotic) pancreatic tissue. Pancreatic necrosis is more serious if an infection is present. This procedure can also be done with endoscopy.
  • ECRP—To open any collapsed ducts or drain cysts.
  • Cholecystectomy—To remove the gallbladder.


National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

National Pancreas Foundation



Canadian Association of Gastroenterology

Health Canada



Chronic pancreatitis. DynaMed website. Available at: Updated April 22, 2013. Accessed December 4, 2013.

Chronic pancreatitis. Tulane University School of Medicine website. Available at: Accessed December 4, 2013.

Grant JP. Nutritional support in acute and chronic pancreatitis. Surg Clin North Am. 2011;91(4):805-820, viii.

Pancreatitis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: Updated August 16, 2012. Accessed December 4, 2013.

Singh VV, Toskes PP. Medical therapy for chronic pancreatitis pain. Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2003; 5:110.


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