Pancreatitis is one of those tragic ailments that tends to force the patient to act quickly. Typically, what sends them running to the hospital is extreme stomach pains. If you have been living with a horrible stomach pain that is not going away, causing you to lose weight, or getting much worse after eating, get to a doctor as soon as possible as you could very well be living with pancreatitis.
- Stomach pain that is normally residing in the upper section of the abdomen, such as right under the ribcage. The pain can radiate to the back, or only be felt in the back of the torso parallel to where the ribs are located. It’s not a normal pain that can be treated at home or with anything over the counter. It’s a pain that is treated with severe prescription painkillers such as a morphine drip in the hospital.
- Vomiting that doesn’t seem normal; you know when you have the flu virus and you just throw up literally for hours; this isn’t the same feeling. This is a very painful vomiting that is forced from the abdominal area to relieve something in the stomach. Often, pancreatitis patients can feel much relief after vomiting, but only for a short time until the illness goes through its next attack.
- Fevers are also common for pancreatitis patients, often some just have the stomach pains along with an accompanying fever and assume they are getting the flu.
- Exhaustion is the next natural step during a pancreatitis attack. The pain usually causes the patient to stop everything that they were doing and go lay down. Often the pain can be so bad that the patient passes out. Feeling tired, or without the will to do anything is typical during a pancreatitis episode.
If the aforementioned symptoms sound familiar to you, get to a doctor quickly. Go to the emergency room if the pain is as bad as I described it earlier. A lot of people, (myself included) wait too long to get the medical attention their bodies are calling out for, and with pancreatic troubles time is of the essence.
Once at the ER:
The doctor will run some tests to identify your condition, if he or she feels you are symptomatic of pancreatitis, they will require blood work, a urine sample (if you can provide one) and imaging tests such as an MRI or x-ray. They are pretty quick about getting you in for these tests knowing your pain level and what it could potentially be; and the results are produced in just a short time while you’re still in the emergency room. If the tests come back to be what was anticipated, they will admit you for pancreatitis and you’ll have to stay until your enzymes are back to a normal level and your pain level is controlled.
The amount of time that you may be in the emergency room and admitted in the hospital will depend on the severity of your pancreatitis attack and how long you have been suffering from its symptoms. Most with an acute one off attack will be suffering for about a week or two at the most. If you have an extreme case, it can take a few weeks or even months to get back to eating a regular diet or your normal activity level.