Pain is a frustrating, sometimes debilitating aspect of
pancreatitis. Many people have pain for many
Pain may decrease as the damaged pancreas loses its ability
to produce enzymes. But it may take years for the pancreas to stop producing
enzymes. In many people, this process never occurs.
If you are
having debilitating pain from chronic pancreatitis, you may be referred to a
Treatment for pain includes avoiding alcohol, eating
a low-fat diet, using pain medicine, and in some cases taking
enzyme pills to help rest your pancreas.
Analgesics. You may be
able to help your pain with over-the-counter pain medicines like acetaminophen,
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as
ibuprofen. Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label. If over-the-counter pain medicines don't control your pain, you may
need to have your doctor prescribe an opioid pain reliever.
Tricyclic antidepressants. These medicines (such as
amitriptyline or imipramine) may help people sleep and cope with pain and
Pancreatic enzyme supplements.
People can take oral enzyme supplements, which may reduce pain in some people,
particularly those who have mild or moderate disease.
Stents. A procedure called endoscopic
retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) can be used to place small supports
(stents) in a narrow pancreatic duct.
Celiac plexus nerve block. An injection of alcohol or
corticosteroids into this bundle of abdominal nerves
may provide temporary relief.
may be reduced by removing stones from the pancreas and draining pancreatic
ducts. For some cases of chronic pain, total pancreatectomy (removal of the
pancreas) may be considered.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter J. Kahrilas, MD - Gastroenterology