If you've ever experienced pancreatitis, you probably are familiar with the pain it can cause. Pancreatitis is a condition that causes inflammation and swelling in the pancreas, an organ in the digestive system that helps with digestion and regulates blood sugar levels.
Pancreatitis can be acute(short-term) or chronic (long-term). Acute pancreatitis usually goes away within a few weeks, while chronic pancreatitis can last for years and get worse over time. Although there is no cure for pancreatitis yet, there are certain at-home pancreatitis treatments that you can try for pancreatitis pain relief.
The symptoms of pancreatitis can vary, but they often include -
Inflammation of the pancreas can happen when the digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas become active before they leave the pancreas. The most common causes of pancreatitis include -
Acute pancreatitis is becoming more common as rates of obesity and gallstones increase. If you're experiencing symptoms of pancreatitis, it's important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor can recommend certain treatments for pancreatic pain relief and prevent further complications. In severe cases, hospitalization might be necessary.
If your symptoms are not severe enough to require hospitalization, there are some home treatments that you can try to relieve pancreatitis pain. Some of these treatments may include the following.
|For Pain Relief
|For Nutritional Recovery
|1. Heat therapy
|5. Digestive Enzymes
|9. Clear Liquid diet
|10. Low-fat diet
|7. IV Fluids
|8. Enteral Nutrition
Managing pain is crucial in pancreatitis. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, may be recommended, while a healthcare professional may prescribe stronger medications.
Applying heat to the abdomen can provide relief from pain and discomfort associated with pancreatitis. A hot water bottle or heating pad, when used carefully, can help relax the abdominal muscles. According to an article by EveryDayHealth, applying heat packs to the spine or upper abdomen can partially ease the pancreatitis pain.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. However, their use should be guided by a healthcare provider due to potential side effects. A research paper titled NSAIDs and Acute Pancreatitis, published by NIH concluded that using NSAIDs helps control pain in patients with acute pancreatitis. However, more research is needed to determine which medication is the best to use.
Some individuals find relief from pancreatitis symptoms through acupuncture, a practice involving the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. This alternative therapy should be discussed with a healthcare professional before trying.
If pancreatitis is caused by infection, antibiotics may be prescribed to target and eliminate the underlying bacterial issue. A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine has concluded that doctors have been using antibiotics to prevent infections in patients with acute pancreatitis. However, this approach may only be appropriate for some. Therefore, doctors are now suggesting a more personalized approach, where they will only use antibiotics when they detect early signs of high risk of infection. By using antibiotics only, when necessary, doctors can provide better care for patients suffering from acute pancreatitis.
Ensuring proper hydration is crucial, especially if vomiting or diarrhea is present. Drinking clear fluids or electrolyte solutions and adding digestive enzymes and probiotics can help maintain hydration levels and rejuvenate the body to fight the pain.
If your body is not producing digestive enzymes on its own, digestive enzyme supplements may be recommended to aid in the digestion of food and reduce stress on the pancreas. These supplements are popularly known for treating common discomfort associated with gut irritation and heartburn and help with better digestion.
Probiotics, which promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria, may be beneficial in managing digestive symptoms associated with pancreatitis. According to a research study carried out by the National Institutes of Health, giving probiotics to patients with mild acute pancreatitis can help them spend less time in the hospital.
IV therapy is a safe and effective way of administering medicines and fluids to people who suffer from a medical condition or severe deficiency. In cases of severe pancreatitis, intravenous (IV) fluids may be administered to prevent dehydration and support the body's nutritional needs.
Enteral feeding is a non-conventional feeding method for people who are temporarily or permanently unable to eat normally via mouth. In some severe cases of pancreatitis, a feeding tube may be used for enteral nutrition, providing nutrients directly to the digestive system when oral intake is insufficient.
An article on Penn Medicine states that nutrition plays a crucial role in treating patients with pancreatitis. The primary objectives of nutritional management for chronic pancreatitis are as follows:
To achieve these goals, patients with pancreatitis should follow a high-protein and nutrient-dense diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other lean protein sources. It's important to avoid alcohol and greasy or fried foods as they can lead to malnutrition and pain. The two most common and effective pancreatitis diets are clear liquid diet and low-fat diet.
A clear liquid diet is a special type of diet that mainly includes transparent or translucent liquids. The goal of this diet is to give your digestive system a break while still providing your body with essential fluids and nutrients. This diet is commonly recommended for a short period, usually before certain medical procedures, after surgery, or during digestive problems.
The foods and beverages allowed on a clear liquid diet include clear broths, strained fruit juices, clear gelatin desserts, frozen popsicles made from clear liquids, decaffeinated tea or coffee without milk or cream, electrolyte drinks without added colors or pulp, non-caffeinated, non-colored sodas, and plain water without any additives.
It's important to note that a clear liquid diet is not nutritionally complete and is not meant for long-term use. It lacks essential nutrients, proteins, and fats that your body needs to stay healthy. As soon as it is medically appropriate, individuals are usually transitioned to a more balanced and solid diet.
Adopting a low-fat diet helps reduce stress on the pancreas, as fat digestion is a significant factor in pancreatitis symptoms. A low-fat diet is a way of eating that limits the amount of fats, especially unhealthy ones, in your meals. It includes -
If any or all these treatment options seem ineffective in managing pancreatitis pain at home, your doctor may consider surgical option. Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography, ERCP, is a common surgical procedure that combines endoscopy and X-rays to examine and treat issues in the pancreas and bile ducts. It can be used to remove obstructions or stones contributing to pancreatitis.
Individuals with pancreatitis need to work closely with healthcare professionals to tailor a treatment plan that addresses their specific conditions and needs. Home care should always be coordinated with medical guidance for safe and adequate treatment of pancreatitis.
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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...
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