Affecting 50,000 to 80,000 Americans each year, acute pancreatitis comes on suddenly.
Symptoms include pain in the upper part of the stomach area, nausea, vomiting, bloating, belching, hiccups or collapse. The pain may be steady and radiate to the back, side or lower stomach area. There may also be a fever, shortness of breath or kidney problems if the symptoms are severe.
Causes and Risk Factors
Pancreatitis can have several triggers, including:
- Pancreatic cancer
- A block in the ducts between the pancreas and the liver. This includes gallstones that force pancreatic fluids to back up, causing inflammation and permanent damage.
- Chemicals in the digestive system
- Inflammation of nearby organs
- Antibiotics, such as sulfa drugs and tetracycline
- High exposure to estrogen and some diuretics
- Binge drinking or regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol
- Abdominal surgery
- Complications from a screening procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Infections (such as mumps or viral hepatitis)
- High levels of calcium or triglycerides in the blood
People at risk of gallstones are also at risk for acute pancreatitis. This includes pregnant women, women who have had many pregnancies and people who are overweight.