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The Pain and Suffering of Pancreatitis

The Pain and Suffering of Pancreatitis

Damaged-PancreasMany of your family and friends do NOT understand the pain and suffering of pancreatitis. They most likely have NO CLUE how bad it can be to suffer an acute pancreatitis attack, especially if it falls in the moderate to severe category. Yet even MILD acute attacks can be the most painful experience imagined while, even though ironic, a severe attack can actually produce less pain initially, even no pain, yet more suffering long-term, even death [1].

The Pain and Suffering Of Pancreatitis

chronic pancreatitisThose who suffer with chronic pancreatitis usually always have pain because in both acute and chronic the hallmark symptoms are pain, that often radiates to the back, (mild, moderate or severe, usually severe in AP), nausea and vomiting [2],[3].

In acute pancreatitis the pain is usually severe and always continuous. It doesn’t come and go, it is constant. Unlike gallbladder disease vomiting does NOT eliminate or relieve the pain.

For those with moderate to advanced chronic pancreatitis pain can be a constant companion and can in some cases be as severe as in acute pancreatitis. This one fact is what led me to really search for information on how I could halt the progression of CP because I couldn’t even imagine the horrible nightmare of acute pancreatitis pain on a constant daily basis. THAT thought or image scared me to death! And I don’t scare real easy.

What IS Pancreatitis Pain Like?

living-with-pancreatitis-painMy chronic pancreatitis pain was nothing compared to the pain I experienced from acute pancreatitis. My chronic pain was not constant or didn’t seem to be and was what I’d consider mild. Yet, like I said above, I have read where chronic pancreatitis pain can become like AP pain and become a constant, daily nightmare. I personally can’t explain the severe pain I experienced with acute pancreatitis well.

I’ve seen advertisements on TV where people have said the pain of such and such was like having a bag of hot burning coals on their neck. My immediate thought was has that guy ever had a bag of hot burning coals on his neck so he can actually compare? I thought it may be similar to being gut-shot yet someone told me they had been shot before and would rather be shot again that suffer another acute pancreatitis attack. What does that tell you about the pain of pancreatitis?

Listen to what Dr. David C. Whitcomb, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has to say about the pain of pancreatitis. If you suffer with pancreatitis you may want to share this video with friends and family so they can better understand your suffering.

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Pancreatic Pseudocysts

pancreatic-pseudocyst-2-638Pancreatic pseudocysts most often develop after an episode of severe, acute pancreatitis. They may also occur in those with chronic pancreatitis.

A pancreatic pseudocyst is a collection of various kinds of fluid and debris. They can become infected which complicates treatment and causes more pain.

Symptoms can occur within days to months after an acute attack of pancreatitis, and include:

  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Constant pain or deep ache in the abdomen, which may also be felt in the back
  • Difficulty eating and digesting food

Pancreatic pseudocysts are just one of the common complications of pancreatitis that create more pain and suffering.

I didn’t intend to write a long dissertation. In fact I just wanted to post the above video to this blog so that you could share it with those close to you, helping them to become better educated about your condition, the suffering you endure during an acute attack and/or on a daily basis. However …

pancreatitis suffering i get itIF you happen to be a friend or family member reading this post and secretly think that your friend or family member is a wuss looking for attention please, re-watch the first few seconds of the video until you “get it.”  

The doc says: “The most SEVERE pain you could ever imagine … WORSE than CANCER, worse than almost any other medical condition” and …

Let that thought sink in.

I mean really sink in so that the next time your friend or family member says they don’t feel well, you get the fact that really means they DON’T FEEL WELL!



1) Severe acute pancreatitis – Read (Clinical features section last sentence)
2) Evaluation of Nausea and Vomiting – Read
3) Treating nausea and vomiting in palliative care: a review – Read


77 thoughts on “The Pain and Suffering of Pancreatitis

  1. Have pain on upper right side under breast area I am a diabetic I take neuron tin and metformin..don’t knw if diarrhea is associated with pancreatitus I have it off and on..the pain does stand out had gallbladder removed I’ve had this pain a long time.

    1. Hi Alice 🙂 Diabetes drugs, metformin included, are known to cause pancreatitis. Some like Actos, Januvia, Byetta (off market) and Victoza are notorious. Diarrhea is can be a symptom, most often it is seen in chronic pancreatitis. Since you have had your GB removed and female I’d be suspect of both SOD (sphincter of oddi dysfunction) and pancreatitis. SOD causes pancreatitis.

      1. Hi, I read your comment to Alice about SOD causing Pancreatitis. I thought that it was the other way around. Thanks for clearing that up. 🙂
        I can tell you that it’s one of the most painful things you can ever experience and having “nursing” staff at the hospital to tell you that you need to be quiet because you are “disturbing” other patients is very hurtful. This is AFTER you tell them that the morphine only makes it worse.

        Alice, I do hope you get some relief and take this good man’s advice. God bless.


        1. Renee – I’m not as nice as you. I’m especially NOT nice when I’m in pain and or nauseated. I’d have let the nurse know what she could do with a donut. Yep, opiates make SOD worse and infact often turn an SOD episode (spasm) into acute pancreatitis. Morphine and prostigmine used to be used in combination to diagnose SOD because they caused the SO to spasm and most often caused acute pancreatitis as well so that may be why they don’t use that test anymore. It was called the Nardi Test. In fact the doctor who diagnosed me with AP used the Nardi Test on me to cause the AP! So – I may have SOD as well BUT Dr. Langdon never said anything about it. Heck I have CP and celiac disease might as well have SOD too but like I said I have never been diagnosed with SOD to my knowledge.

        2. SOD or Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction, is DEFINITELY a cause of pancreatitis as well as Chronic Pancreatitis. As the Sphincter is at the end of the common bile duct, which the Pancreatic duct empties into, if it won’t open, all the bile, acid and digestive enzymes back up into the Pancreas, and essentially begin digesting itself. You MUST find a Pancreatic specialist.!!!

  2. Had an ercp at IU 6/15 and developed ap – hospitalized 5 days. Still feeling awful as I try to recover. Thank you so much for posting the video and for this website. I can’t articulate how bad the pain was during the attack, but it was worse than giving birth to my three children. During the ercp, the surgeon discovered I had pancreas divisum and it took him two hours to open one valve and stent it. I’ve had ruq pain for years, radiating to the back. I want to believe I will be better post recovery – trying to stay positive. I’ve been told ibs, gallbladder (had it out years ago) and that the pain was ‘all in my head’. I know stress and anxiety are not my friend, I just hope the day will come when I will feel well again.

  3. My son has pancreatitis, he’s been in OSU for 2 months now. He is in alot of pain and has infection coming out everyday for 2 months. Is this normal and can he ever get better. They give him insulin every day, but he hasn’t eaten food for that long. Does he have hope and how long does it take to get better. I know its along time.

    1. Hi Margie – I am sorry to hear about your son. I’m also sorry but I have no idea what they answer is to your question. I know that some who suffer severe acute pancreatitis have a really rough road especially if the pancreas becomes infected. They must obviously have him on antibiotics and a drainage tube? Have they done surgery to remove the necrotic (dead) tissue? Hang in there. I can imagine what he and you are going through. Stay strong. There is always hope. As long as he is breathing there is hope. Ask God for his grace and healing. I’ll do likewise. Keep us all posted. Is he on a feeding tube?

  4. Hello Health Guy,

    My husband is 71 yo, and has diabetes and on warfarin. He had abdominal pain for 2months and did all the tests and blood tests you could imagine (i.e. cat scan, ultra sound etc.). Until the 1st week of July he cannot take the pain anymore and decided to go to ER. They found out that he has a gallstone and removed his gallbladder. Stayed in the hospital for a week. Then 2days after he got out of the hospital, the pain came back, sharper than ever, went back to the hospital, did ct scan and found out he has pancreatitis, until now we don’t know if its acute or chronic. Did a ERCP and biopsy, came out benign for cancer. Stayed in hospital for 5 days. He still has the pain but tolerable. Last night he had fever, chills and his whole body shaking for 6hrs, then it calm down and was able to sleep for a few hrs. he refused to go to hospital. Is it natural for pancreatitis patient to have chill? How long would he suffer with constant pain? Norco isn’t helping either, pain doesn’t go away, its just less, but still there.

    Thank you for your website especially pancreatitis diet, it helps a lot.

    1. Pia chills are not a good sign. It usually means one has a fever. Fever is usually connected to infection. I hope you took him back to the ER. I apologize for being so late responding. Forgive me. Let me know how he’s doing.

  5. Hello, last month I had a soft pain in my upper left abdomen for like a week and a half/ two weeks, sometimes it was all the area near the ribs, sometimes just nearer the center and a bit down. I dont know if I could call it pain, its more like feeling the place at all times. I also have a chronic back pain on the left side, on the muscle along the spine, which is higher than its right counterpart. I never felt the pain people speak of in this blog, but its seems like it is the same areas and I have been drinking a lot for the past years. I’m feeling back again for the past 5 days – though I quit drinking and eating fat. Have you ever felt this before feeling the strong pain attacks?.. light and blessings to all, thanks, hugo

    1. and I should had I regularly felt this the day after drinking, but it would go away on the second day.. just now it lasted for some time.

    2. Hi Hugo – I apologize but I don’t remember your story (whether you have been diagnosed with pancreatitis or not) but alcoholic pancreatitis can present like chronic instead of acute. So there is a possibility that the symptoms you are stating could be alcoholic pancreatitis and you are feeling the symptoms of mild chronic pancreatitis but I don’t know. If you haven’t been seen by a good doc you should make an appt.

      1. Hi Health Guy, my doctor told me not to drink for 3 months and by the end of those 3 months do a abdominal echography and show it to him. Nevertheless I’m playing safe and taking other precautions following your diet advices – my bowel movements got much better and the feeling on the upper abdomen is almost inexistent. Congratulations for this site! blessings to all, thanks, hugo

  6. I’ve been fighting CP for 20 years now. I’ve experienced other severe pain from losing a finger, going face first through a windshield that required 5 separate surgeries to rebuild my face and jaw, 4 hernias and a gunshot wound, plus a severely damaged Sciatic nerve caused by a needle full of Demerol being inject directly into the nerve bundle and crippling me for two years. ALL of these combined are not even CLOSE to the daily pain of CP. Yet STILL many of us are denied access to pain medication and are told we are only seeking drugs. Many turn to the streets, heroin and finally suicide. Is THIS the America we know? When we are left to die from heart failure due to severe unimaginable pain? WHEN all this cruelty end?

  7. I’m awaiting a Dx. I have had epigastric pain, the moves right and left for over two years. Now I had a fecal elastase test that was low as I showed signs of malabsorption. Having a eus next week. I continued to drink during this time as I was told it was no CP. I’m no longer drinking and eating low fat but still eating meat. Should I stop? I’m loosing weight and not feeling like eating. Just started creon.

    1. Hi Kristin – IF I were sick I wouldn’t touch meat (red meat or pork) with a ten foot pole. Heck, I won’t touch it NOW and I’m well. The ONLY meat I have found to be fairly safe for most after they have resolved ALL symptoms is skinless chicken, quail, turkey, grouse etc. Water fowl (duck and goose) are to high in fat. White meat fish is excellent. Cold water oily fish should be eaten with caution. IF it were me I’d stop the meat but you have to do what you think is best for you. 🙂

      1. Should I do a fast? I’m not in tons of pain. My pain is about a 3 always til I have an attack that bumps to a 7-8 for a couple hrs. Having diarhea now but just started back on Prozac and just started the creon and anxious about the Dx so hope someday I can have better movements. Anyway, does that sound like time for a fast or juicing or just low fat and stop meat? I’ve got vit c but nervous to take if it makes my diarhea worse. Ordered the other supplements too. Any ideas for safe high calorie foods? Again, I’m underweight and can’t afford to loose more.

        1. Hi Kristin – IF it were me I’d do the fast, the cleansing (enema) and then do veggie juice. Low sodium V8 works if you don’t have a juicer (start your food diary here). Then I’d try some Ensure CLEAR (only one without oil in the ingredient list) for protein etc and see how the Ensure CLEAR worked for me. Ensure CLEAR does have milk solids (protein) and sometimes even low fat/no fat milk and/or solids do NOT work. IF that worked (no pain, no symptoms) I’d move on to another no fat, low fat food. Egg whites come to mind. ZERO fat 4 grams of protein per egg white. Keep adding. Cod fish is very high in protein and super low in fat per the protein. Use this sites tool to check fat/protein/vitamin/mineral content of foods. You’ll see at top where you can add a food and check it. I’m willing to bet that your diarhea is simply because of your pancreas being inflamed still. IF it (diarhea) started with the creon it could be your dose is too high and you might wanna check with your doc. Once you get your pancreas happy the symptoms should resolve. It’s all up to you and what you think is best cuz I am NOT a doctor. So I really can’t give medical advice. I hope you start feeling better soon. 🙂

  8. my husband has type 2 dieabities has had divaticulitous and now had a attack of pancreatitis he has been in a bad way for a while. He was in the hospital only 6 hours and they sent him home with pain killers and anti vomiting drugs. He does not want to eat much pain is gone right now but comes a little when he eats. How do you get your pancreas happy and do people recover completely he is 52 thank you

    1. Hi Dawn – what diabetes meds does he take. Diabetes meds (Januvia, Victoza, Trulicity) are notorious for causing acute pancreatitis. IF this was his first attack and mild he could easily heal up and never have another problem unless there is a cause (diabetes drugs) that needs to be addressed. So I guess it would be good to find out what caused the attack and rectify it if possible. You can find everything I did to heal on this blog and what I still do. Like I said he may be in the lucky 80% of those who have a mild acute pancreatitis attack, completely heal and never have another problem. So give his pancreas time to heal, stop the inflammation, put him on a low fat, no fat diet until he feels well again. By the way I’m not a doc so I can’t give advice. 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast he is still not feeling well he is eating and drinking but not much he was on invocana for his sugar and metformin he is off all meds right now except blood pressure about 50 mils. He went to work for half day today is home and sleeping how long does it take to get nomal again thanks again I feel so helpless.

        1. Hi Dawn – recovery time depends upon different variables. How much damage, how healthy he is otherwise, whether what he eats/drinks causes more inflammation just to name a few. He could be well in a few weeks or it could take awhile. If I remember correctly he had a mild, short lived attack so hopefully he should recover fairly fast.

    2. Dawn, I have Chronic Pancreatitis for over 20 years, run numerous support groups. I have a medical background and have spent the last 19 years reseaerching this diseasae. First of all, STOP the Androgel!!!!! It’s awful for the Pancreas,. He needs to stay on a VERY low fat iet 30 grams or less per day. Cholesterol and Triglycerides MUST be controlled. They are FAT in the blood which is dangerous for people with Pancreatic disease. There’s much to learn, but I strongly suggest you find a Pancreatic center and get some extensive testing. You MUST find the root cause which may be defects in the Pancreas or it’s ducts, or genetic in origin. Either way, major lifestyle changes are needed. NO alcohol EVER!!!! Low fat diet, probably some digestive enzymes. no fried or fatty foods and atrt eat ORGANIC!!! The chemicals in fat and packaged foods are like poison to us.

      1. mike he has no energy now if he stops the andregel I am afraid he is going to go into a deep depression I think some of what is wrong with him now is that he is off all other medication and still is so bad he did eat the most yesterday but woke up with a headache this morning we are at a loss to what to do now I really really appreciate all of the help on this sight I can’t tell you how much it has helped me through the roughest time of his and my life.

      2. My husband woke up with a headache this morning he took one of his pain meds it is not going away I am beside myself he doesn’t seem to be making any grown at this point no pain in stomach but now in his head does this all go with the recovery of pancreaus problems

  9. Thank you so much for getting back to me so fast you are the best. He came home after a half day at work. He goes from being very cold shivering still nothing taste good to him he drinks Gatorade some tea peaches. I got some glucerna but it is chocolate and I see where that is not good. He is diabetic and is on andregel and has high blood pressure so he does have other issues. The dr said it will take time, He has not felt good for a long time. I will get the supliments you put up on here. Hopefully we can get him well.

    1. Dawn – you are welcome. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I may or may not have an informed answer but I tell you either way. I hope your husband feels better real soone.

  10. Hi again my husband is still coming home after a half day of work says he is cold and sore but he hasn’t eaten in about 2 weeks anything good. I have given him ensure clear but have to be careful because he is diabetic he is asking for backed potato tonight and he has eaten a couple of potato and onion parogies and a little pasta not much at all everything taste aweful how is yogart I am at a lose as to what to give him thank you again

    1. Hey Dawm – some people can eat yogurt and some can’t. I guess it depends upon damage. But even the milk solids in no fat milk bother me if I drink too much or if I drink it a couple two/three days in a row. Onions, potatoes, etc are fine BUT it all depends on how they are cooked and what you add to them. You can make safe food unsafe with added fat.

      1. The dr said he will need his gallbladder out when he is feeling better what do you think on this

      2. My husband had another really bad day today. Only drank a half of a clear ensure and water couple pieces of water mellon he keeps getting weaker and weaker. I feel so helpless. he had a very bad headach this morning but when he drank the clear it went away I feel like a nag but I don’t know what else to do

        1. Dawn – If his headache went away with the ensure clear he obviously needs to eat more. Egg whites, white meat fish (cod etc) should be ok as long as the food is cooked in a good nonstick pan with no oil or butter (fat). He’s likely weak due to lack of nourishment. I could be wrong but I’m guessing he needs food.

  11. Hi Paul, I’m just coming off an attack, not sure what I did wrong. Two questions please: The day I start drinking vegetable broth, do I need to take an enzyme capsule before drinking the broth? And to be clear, grapefruit juice is not permitted during the pain and fasting days, only after pain is gone and I start on veggie broth, right?
    Thank you! Jayne Mitchell

    1. Jayne that isn’t good news! IF you are on prescription meds you should check with your docs and pharmacist first before drinking grapefruit juice. It can cause some unwelcome interaction with drugs (I mean bad ones). I don’t take enzymes with veggie broth or juice. Ya know … IF you can safely drink grapefruit juice (make sure you check Jayne) I’d drink it during the fast. It’s close to water :-). I’d do the supplements too but no food. Get well. 🙂

  12. Hi Paul, Thanks for your advice and quick reply. It’s strange, but I had to come to this web page to find your reply when I had clicked the option to get an email notification of your reply. But yet I get the questions and answers that other people send. Oh well. I’m done fasting, it was three days this time. The pain of starvation is almost as bad as the attack. It’s so hard to not eat for days. I did one day of grapefruit juice and broth and yesterday I ate the veggies I had made in the broth. I’m feeling better but still a bit weak from no food. Since I didn’t eat anything with a lot of fat to cause this last attack, I’m wondering if it’s because I started taking a different enzyme than the one you recommend. I had some Zymemax left from before my Whipple procedure and I thought I’d use it up. There is no animal enzyme in Zymemax, I think it’s all plant enzymes. So I’m thinking perhaps that’s what caused it. Any thoughts? I know the one you recommend has ox bile in it. The prescription ones are too strong for me and make me sick. Thanks so much.
    Jayne Mitchell

    1. Hi Jayne – I am not sure exactly how the email notifications work. I signed up to get them and have yet to get one so at least you are getting yours lol. In regards to enzymes I have no clue whether the lack of them could cuase an attack or not. I know that if you need them you can be fairly miserable without them (after eating). I also don’t know if plant enzymes would be good or not. All I know is that if you are not producing enough pancreatic enzymes you need them and the three needed in a formula are protease, amylase and lipase. The ox bile probably helps as well. I’m sorry you are feeling poorly. I thought you were on your way to better times.

      1. I Hope you don’t mind me interjecting here, but I can help. Enzymes serve TWO purposes, though sadly, most doctors don’t even know this. They not only serve to replace enzymes made by the Pancreas due to insufficiency and act as a digestive aid, but the most important function is to get enough units in our bloodstream at ALL times, to stop the Pancreas from producing it’s own enzymes. Remember the problem with CP is that enzymes pass through the Pancreatic Duct in an active or “live” state ca;;ed Trypsin, which should never happen! This causes inflammation and flares. I always advise people to take at least ONE before bed, to keep that angry Pancreas shut down, so in essence, yes, not taking enzymes can cause a flare up. I hope this helps!

  13. Good morning Healthy guy, I was wondering if Honey is the same as sugar. I Know it sounds stupid, because I think it is but, my daughter says its not, can you clairify this for me? thankyou so much for all that you do for sharing your valuable information.

      1. And again I apologize for interjecting, but as coincidence would have it, I’m a BEEKEEPER! Honey is not exact;y sugar as you know it. It is a highly concentrated form of plant sugers “fructose” which is definitely better than bleached white sugars, but still no better for diabetics. If you’re NOT diabetic, buy honey in the comb! It’s not processed or pasteurized or cooked in any way. Organic eatibg is VERY important for us Panky people!

        1. Thank you so much, I was hoping to hear that. So your a bee keeper, that is awesome. we have many many bees in our area, at least on our acher, we have lots of flowers and rosemary bushes, when you walk by them the ground buzzes. wish we know a bee keeper that could come and use some othe these bees to prduce honey. again thank you

  14. I have been trying to locate your blog and find you on Facebook with no luck. Can you help me? I don’t want to lose you. I thank God I found you. It was divine intervention.

  15. Hello Paul,
    Thank you for the video. It is a relief to know that the pain I’ve been enduring this year may not be my fault. I have been kicking myself for some bad habits I’ve had for a lot of years. I’ve been scouring your site the last few days for all the information I can get. It’s very preliminary, but the supplement cocktail and low fat diet appear to be working, at least the pain and nausea have subsided. Thanks again, and God Bless.

    1. Mark – you are very welcome. I am glad to hear that the diet and supplements seem to be working. It is always great to hear good news! It should only get better. God bless you back! 🙂

      1. Hi Paul, and thanks for the response. I have lots of questions, if you don’t mind.
        First, you mentioned that your last attack occurred after eating turkey sausage enclosed in a pork casing. Did you mean to imply that any amount of a prohibited substance, no matter how miniscule, can set off an attack?
        You also state that the food diary is intended to identify problematic foods, and that symptoms related to these foods might not show up for 48 hours or more. Correct? In my case, the last three attacks occurred, I believe, within an hour or so of consuming a prohibited substance (one was a couple of mixed drinks, 2 glasses of wine on another occasion, the third after eating a fatty cheeseburger). I’m assuming that we’re all a little different in our food and drink responses? My pain seems to start more or less immediately, allowing me (I think) to identify those substances quickly.
        I don’t do well with a lot of carbohydrates. Any time I start eating more, like wheat for example (I’m not celiac, but don’t eat much wheat) my acid reflux roars back to life. Eating a fairly low carb diet helped to keep reflux in check, without drugs. Drugs are not safe! I’m afraid that a low fat (or no fat!) diet will mean boosting the carbs. Is there a pancreas-friendly diet that doesn’t include a whole bunch of carbs?
        Next, can I assume that the absence of pain and nausea means that my attacks are in ‘remission,’ and the supplements are doing their thing?
        I am committed to doing whatever it takes to not have another attack. I never thought I would become a vegan, but if that’s what it takes…no more cheeseburgers!

        I appreciate your help, Paul. I’m not getting much from the medical community, as I’m sure you can relate. Good night, and God Bless.

        1. Hi Mark – questions are great! So let me get to them 🙂

          Question #1: “First, you mentioned that your last attack occurred after eating turkey sausage enclosed in a pork casing. Did you mean to imply that any amount of a prohibited substance, no matter how miniscule, can set off an attack?”
          Answer: No I wasn’t trying to imply anything. The fact is my mother had cooked the meal which means that it may not have simply been the pork casings. That particular recipe calls for Italian sausage, potatoes, green and red pepper, onion, olive oil and spices. Turkey sausage was used instead of Italian sausage. It was probably a combination of pork casings and olive oil that did it. There were actually two bad foods (ingredients) in that meal.

          Question #2: “You also state that the food diary is intended to identify problematic foods, and that symptoms related to these foods might not show up for 48 hours or more. Correct? In my case, the last three attacks occurred, I believe, within an hour or so of consuming a prohibited substance (one was a couple of mixed drinks, 2 glasses of wine on another occasion, the third after eating a fatty cheeseburger). I’m assuming that we’re all a little different in our food and drink responses?”
          Answer: It could be very true that you illicit quick responses, yet without doing the food diary prep and diary it is difficult to tell exactly what food or drink trigger an attack. I have seen no response from a food eaten the first time and an almost immediate response the next time. I’ve also experienced delayed responses (this happens most often for me). Unfortunately I can’t explain why this may or may not happen because it would seem that since eating signals a response for pancreatic enzyme release that all responses should be almost immediate but that does not seem to be the case. As long as the enzymes do NOT activate until they clear the pancreas, common bile duct and enter the small intestine everything is fine. It is when they activate inside the pancreas that the nightmare begins. I am thinking that pancreas inflammation somehow causes that early activation. Science on the other hand says it is the activation of trypsinogen into trypsin that causes the inflammation but whatever the actual mechanical cause is – why it happens one time and not the next or why it happens immediately one time and later the next I have no good or short answer.

          Question #3: “Is there a pancreas-friendly diet that doesn’t include a whole bunch of carbs?”
          Answer: To my limited knowledge, no. BUT since you know that wheat seems to cause your reflux, simply avoid wheat. If that doesn’t fix the problem start eliminating other grains and or carbs but here’s the deal. IF it isn’t an animal product it is a carb so you’ll need to test simple carbs against complex carbs as well as what category the carb comes from e.g. grainsm seeds, legumes, tubers, leafy greens, cruciferous, fruit etc

          Question #4: “can I assume that the absence of pain and nausea means that my attacks are in ‘remission,’ and the supplements are doing their thing?”
          Answer: I know that I have used the term remission and since CP is normally a progressive disease I used that for lack of a better term. I’m more inclined to think that the term could be used once someone hasn’t had symptoms and/or pancreatic decompensation for over a year or more. I would imagine the most likely reason for any “remission” would be the supplements in combination with a pancreas friendly diet or God’s grace and healing. And yes, IF it were me, and it is, I’d certainly avoid cheeseburgers!

          1. Hi Paul,
            And thank you for the detailed responses. I’ve been thinking that you need to add ‘Amazing Guy’ to your moniker for all the help you’ve given me and others. My doctor certainly is not this knowledgeable. And thank you for taking the time to respond. You must have a busy workload.
            I’m putting together some questions about the food diary which I’ll post on your diet page in a day or two. I’ll apologize in advance for the wordiness but that’s how I am. I want to know everything.

          2. Hi Mark – Thanks for the kind words but I’m really not amazing. Almighty God is amazing and it is all because of Him that you and others have this information site to use so the Glory is all His! And there is no need to apologize for wordiness or asking questions. Knowing everything might be a bit of a challenge though lol – but it’s a great goal! 🙂

          3. Hi Paul,

            Thanks for the response. I had a bit of a rough day today; light pain and nausea, more irritating than anything. The supplements didn’t seem to do much (I’m up to 800 mgs of grape seed extract, plus the C and curcumin), but I poured myself a glass of grapefruit juice when I got home–I stock it now, ha!–and boy, that really made me feel better. Do you find that GF juice sometimes works better than the supplements?
            BTW, my go-to sauces now are salsa and ketchup! They’re well tolerated, and seem to go with just about anything.

          4. Mark I have found that nothing works for everyone all the time for who knows what reason. I have times when the supplements don’t seem to be working against nausea and grapefruit juice helps and usually I end up finding out I have “glutened” myself (I’m a celiac) with some food that should have been safe to eat. Most celiacs become symptom free by simply going GF (the typical GF diet works for them) but I’m in that small 10% group who are challenged by corn. I’m in a yet smaller group who are challenged by oats, rice and several other generally accepted as safe foods for celiacs. Corn is in everything (GF medications, baking powder, and more). Rice flour is an all purpose flour used in GF baking. It’s a dang nightmare.

  16. Hi Paul,
    Sorry to hear things are so difficult and challenging for you. I can’t imagine what celiac is like, but it must be hell.
    I’m going to start the fast next weekend and have a couple of questions.
    First, as I will only be consuming water, the pain and nausea should let up as there will be no demands made of the pancreas, correct?
    Second, should I continue the supplements during the fast?
    Third, I’ve never done an enema, but from all my research it appears to be pretty easy (and safe). Is this information correct? And, is the enema normally done towards or at the end of the fast?
    Thanks again, Paul. I appreciate your responses, and I’m sure I’ll have more questions in the coming week.

    1. Hey Mark – Thanks it could always be worse! Ok, let’s get to your questions my friend 🙂

      #1 – “First, as I will only be consuming water, the pain and nausea should let up as there will be no demands made of the pancreas, correct?”
      Answer: That is the desired result yes but doesn’t always happen right away. It may take a few days. IF it doesn’t resolve or gets worse you should go to the ER.

      #2 – “should I continue the supplements during the fast?”
      Answer: yes

      #3 – ” I’ve never done an enema, but from all my research it appears to be pretty easy (and safe). Is this information correct?”
      Answer: Yes

      #4 – “And, is the enema normally done towards or at the end of the fast?”
      Answer: End of the fast. The whole idea of the fast is to 1) rest the pancreas and 2) make cleansing possible

      1. Thanks again, Paul.
        I’ve had a rough week and an even tougher Saturday. I’ve been dealing with the pancreas issue (I’ve yet to be formally diagnosed, but my PCP suspects that’s what it is) along with a nasty cold that required the intervention of antibiotics. I’ve lost a whole bunch of weight in the last three weeks, the result of the diet change and lack of appetite due to two illnesses. Friday I thought I’d add a little oil back in to offset the weight loss, and boy, was that the wrong thing to do! I paid for it yesterday, but the pain and nausea have finally subsided 24 hours later. I’m now convinced that CP is the issue and will press my PCP for testing that confirms a diagnosis.
        The flare up yesterday really scared the crap out of me. I’m alone and a bit frightened. I’m on the right track thanks to you and I appreciate all your help, but this thing is obviously bigger than I am. Could you please pray for me?


        1. Hi Mark it is always a good idea to get a concrete diagnosis. I understand your fear. Here’s what God says:

          1 – “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isaiah 41:10
          2 – “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3
          3 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
          4 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
          5 – “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” 2 Timothy 1:7
          6 – “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, … Psalm 91 (the protection psalm) read the entire Psalm
          7 – “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
          8 – “Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10

          I will pray for you (healing and peace).

  17. Hey guys. Having an acute attack here, 2nd this year, 1st ever was in Feb which lead me to the ER, which then led me to a residential room, which then led me to the ICU, which then sent me on an abulance ride to the ICU at a better hospital. So yeah I get the point, GP’s know nothing about pancreatitis. Anyway, this was stupidly likely induced because of alcohol and fatty foods. Trying to make it through this one on my own, spent all of Thursday night vomiting, but actually didn’t have any pain. I started fasting at that point, as if I had any choice. Then as Thursday night turned into Friday morning, the vomiting stopped and the pain set in. It’s all pretty much in my back, a little bit in the abdomen. It’s pretty sever pain, around breaking a significant bone pain… Not quite kidney stone pain, anyway like I said, I’m trying to avoid the hospital. I’m guessing if I go to a walk in clinic they just tell me to leave right effing now and get to the hospital. How much and often should I take ibuprofen? Also how much water should I be consuming? Had 1 dr tell me absolutely no liquids at all, had another tell me IDK drink what you want…Good advice. Been in bed since onset, if I get up I’m a little weak/shakey and might have to sit back down. Shortness of breath, but that could be caused by the fact I’ve had no food and very little water for two days? I’d like to get something in my stomach, is it too early for something like soup broth? I’ve taken 800 mil of ibprophren with some pain realif, should I go upto 1200? Thanks,
    PS. Male 30yrs 190lbs

    1. Alex – you need to go to the ER. It is not prudent to treat acute pancreatitis at home because even doctors have difficulty determining mild attacks from severe. You could take some more Ibuprofen 800 – 1200 mgs and go to the ER. Have someone drive you. Or call the EMTs. Make sure you let someone know you have taken Ibuprofen and how much you’ve taken and when.

  18. Can you have spasms with pancreatitis? I was recently hospitalized with excruciating spasms in my left side. They were so violent my whole body would jerk and I would fall. So off to hospital. I thought pancreas. They did two cat scans, with and without contrast, MRI, upper and lower gi, mrcp, tons of bloodwork, urinalysis. Even complete heart check for abdominal aneurysms. No vomiting no enzymes levels. Nothing. Everything perfectly normal. Gave me fentanyl for pain, clonidine for sky high bp. The fentanyl stopped the pain and help break the cycle. Drs could not figure out what was happening. I jerked so hard I would raise off the bed. Diagnosis?yep you guessed it. Ibs…the trashcan of all diagnosis. Prescription for zofran and sent home.

    Any suggestions would be extremely helpful. Family thinks I’m nuts. Did have 14 inches of colon removed but that’s been over 10 years ago.

    1. Randi there is obviously something going on but it isn’t necessarily a pancreas problem and they did tests that would normally show a pancreas involvement. I would be more inclined to look for scar tissue issue problems or a brain disorder such as a tumor from what you described. There is a list of disease conditions that can cause what you have experienced including autoimmune disease such as celiac disease which I have. So I would copy this article and present it to your physician for him/her to evaluate.

  19. Thank you so much. Well I did have 14 inches of my colon removed in 2004. Someone suggested adhesions but surely they would have shown up by now.
    I have cervical issues at c3 to c5. Collapsing discs. And then lower lumbar problems. Drs jus say aging. Osteoarthritis.

    I truly have all Drs stumped. I got their attention in hospital, tho, when my blood pressure rose to an unbelievable 254 over 176. Yes it’s documented. Family was freaking out. Diagnosed with hypertensive emergency. But that doesn’t cause abdominal problems.

    Losing faith in drs…sigh.

    1. Hi Randi don’t lose faith – sometimes it takes time for them to find what is wrong simply because there are so many conditions with similar symptoms and in this day and age doctors are more like auto technicians in the regard that if the machines and test equipt don’t tell them what is wrong most don’t know. So did they figure out why you had hypertensive crisis? Did they check for Addison’s disease? I’m just thinking Hypertensive crisis + Severe spasms (could they have actually been convulsions?) could have been seizures? Have you ever had brown patches of skin show up for no reason? I know you are frustrated but keep searching until they find out what is wrong.

  20. Can you tell me when the pancreas pain starts? Is it immediately after eating, 1 hour, 8 hours or more? My pain usually starts 8 hours or more. I’m jus uncomfortable like bloated after I eat. But pain, level 5 to 6, and on my left side, below the rib cage and right between the shoulder blades, can start much later at night.

    Sorry for all the questions but I cant find any answers on the net about when this starts.

    1. Hi Randi – The answer to your first question is it can be either of the four. IF the pancreas is really inflamed and some eats (especially something high fat) the pain can be almost immediate (within minutes). Otherwise more often hours, even 24 hours later or more. It depends. One could eat something that causes pain and skate the first day then eat it again or another high fat food and bam! here comes the pain right after a snack of eating grapes (which are safe food) and so they blame grapes instead of the double meat, bacon and cheese burger with fries and a coke they had a few hours earlier – ok and what you just described: “My pain usually starts 8 hours or more. I’m jus uncomfortable like bloated after I eat. But pain, level 5 to 6, and on my left side, below the rib cage and right between the shoulder blades, can start much later at night.” THAT sounds like a chronic pancreatitis flare or a very mild acute attack. Have you ever considered or asked for genetic testing to see if you are prone to the types of pancreatitis that can start as chronic? How long have you had these digestion issues? And you might ask for autoimmune testing (autoimmune disease) because autoimmune pancreatitis often presents like chronic/pancreas cancer – it can even LOOK like pancreas cancer on scans. And is confirmed by biopsy. An ANA blood test would help rule in or out autoimmune disease. Anyaway … there is something going on obviously. And WHY did you have 14 inches of colon removed in 2004?

  21. Thank you so much. I’ve had “ibs” all my life. Chronic constipation. Considering my home life, not surprised. Won’t go into it but bad. I’ve had documented diverticulitis attacks several times a year leading up to the surgery. Drs jus said enough and I had the surgery. Arthritis is in my family, ra and osteo. Don’t know why I have bp issues. Been hospitalized several times for no issues.

    I’ve been tested for all kinds of arthritis, heart issues, digestive, bone scans, etc. No one in my family has had pancreas but all have ibs issues.

    You’re absolutely right about food. One day I can have something, the next time its pure he’ll. Fried, take out, desserts, you name it. Fruits are ok. Baked fish, etc. And of course not eating.

    I’m so tired of hearing hypochondriac and somatization disorder I could scream. It’s not in your mind if you’re rolling on the floor gasping for air in pain.

    One Dr said he had been in practice for over 30 years and never seen a pancreas case.

    I’m jus tired. I can’t find a Dr willing to help and when they see all my tests and bloodwork, well, that’s it.

    1. Randi – you’ll find that MOST doctors are in the dark when it comes to the pancreas and pancreatitis. They get maybe a 1hr lecture maybe 2 and think they are experts. In 7 ER visits NOT ONE doctor recognized what I had which was CLASSIC acute pancreatitis symptoms. So to find one that actually knows that IBS can CAUSE acute pancreatitis would be rare indeed. Just keep searching for a good doctor.

  22. Oh sorry jus remembered. I do have small tan scaly patches of skin that jus appear. Most are on abdomen. Showed to drs but they jus ignore them. Maybe the size of a pencil head or a little larger. About no, I can be doin nothing and wham, over 180. Momma had it too and she was on 4 different meds. They never could control it. She died of congestive heart failure at 83. My heart has tested fibe.

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