Questions I see often within comments on my site are “Do I have pancreatitis” or “Could I have pancreatitis” or “Do you think I have pancreatitis?”
Unfortunately I was too lazy (among other reasons) to invest 8 – 12 years in school and residency in order to become a doctor so …
I can’t diagnose anyone who visits and or comments on this site.
I also can’t prescribe a course of treatment. And …
These facts are pointed out in various places on this site including the terms of service page. But …
What I can do is point out my personal experiences and pass on the information I have learned from other sources (articles written by doctors and scholars) thereby giving you the information that may help you to determine a course of action.
One thing I need to point out which is this:
Pancreatitis can kill you. So …
IF you have any symptoms that would trigger immediate concern, even fear in a prudent person …
GO TO THE NEAREST ER!
DO NOT try to diagnose yourself.
Do NOT look for more information on the Internet.
Go to the nearest ER if you even suspect acute pancreatitis because …
In the case of pancreatitis, like other deadly conditions, it is ALWAYS better to be looked upon as a LIVE hypochondriac rather than a dead or maimed (disabled) victim who did not seek proper medical care in time.
What IS Pancreatitis?
Simply put pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. There are two (2) main classifications of pancreatitis.
Acute and chronic.
The acute condition appears or happens rapidly. You can be or seem fine one minute then become sicker than a dog the next.
The pancreas becomes inflamed due to various circumstances.
This inflammation can result in prematurely activated pancreatic enzymes becoming trapped within the pancreas and digesting the pancreas which causes damage.
Pancreatitis can become life-threatening very quickly. This is why you should go to the nearest ER if you suspect that you could have acute pancreatitis. It’s nothing to fool around with. Go to the ER.
What Are The Normal Classic Symptoms?
There are classic symptoms for all diseases and conditions but that doesn’t mean those diseases and conditions always play by the rules or go according to the known knowledge of the day. Symptoms can vary but for the most part acute pancreatitis presents like this:
Pain – The pain comes on fast like a freight train, without brakes, going down hill. It can be so intense it is difficult to breathe, difficult to sit still (you may rock back and forth). You may find yourself leaning forward instinctively to help ease the pain. The pain is steady, constant. It does not come and go. It often radiates to the back behind the rib cage. Not behind your shoulder, behind your ribcage. The pain will most likely be the most horrific you have ever experienced.
Nausea and Vomiting – You may have nausea and vomiting and you may not. Sometimes the nausea and vomiting can be severe, relentless. In other words you may puke your guts up, continuously. Vomiting does not relieve the pain.
Other symptoms may include:
- pain is usually worse lying down
- swollen, tender abdomen
- cold sweats
- rapid pulse
- rapid and/or difficulty breathing
Complications that may arise in severe cases include:
- organ failure
It is interesting to note that acute pancreatitis does NOT always present with “classic” symptoms.
I’ve read case studies where there was no pain (RARE) however, the patient had severe vomiting.
I’ve read comments from people who have experienced very little pain (again rare) and were surprised to find out they had pancreatitis. So …
It is entirely possible to have the condition without the classic symptom of severe pain.
NOTHING is 100% indicative.
That is why it is important to get a complete work up at the ER where they can use a battery of tests to determine whether you have pancreatitis.
If you have any of the classic symptoms or any of the secondary symptoms or a combination of classic and secondary go to the ER and get worked up. Find out what is wrong.