Pancreas is a gland in the abdomen that helps with digestion. Acute pancreatitis is a clinical condition where pancreas is inflamed resulting in abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Two main causes of acute pancreatitis are alcohol and gall stones. There are several other causes like medications, infections, trauma, high triglyceride levels, high calcium levels, auto immune disorders etc. It is usually diagnosed with CT scan of the abdomen and some blood work. Ultrasound of the gallbladder is done to look for gall stones. Some other blood work is done to look for possible causes. Mild pancreatitis may not need hospitalization, however, severe pancreatitis can be life threatening. It is usually treated with conservative management including intravenous fluids, bowel rest, pain medications and nausea medications. In rare cases, antibiotics and surgery may be needed when pancreatitis is associated with complications like pancreatic necrosis or infected pancreas, pancreatic pseudocyst etc. Quitting alcohol and removing gall stones might help to prevent recurrent pancreatitis.
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