Pancreatitis Treatments

The treatment goal is to rest the pancreas and let it heal.

In most cases you:

  • Will be in the hospital for a few days
  • Will be given IV (intravenous) fluids
  • Will be given pain medicine, and medicines that fight bacterial infections (antibiotics)
  • Won’t be able to eat or drink for a few days to let your pancreas rest

Pancreatitis often gets better in a few days.

If any problems occur, treatment depends on the type of problem. Treatment may include:

  • NG tube (nasogastric tube). This is a thin tube passed down your nose and into your stomach. It is used if vomiting is a problem. The tube can be used for a few weeks. It can take out fluid and air and give your pancreas more time to heal. It can also be used to put liquid food into your stomach as you heal.
  • ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). This is used to find and treat problems in your liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. It uses X-ray and a long, flexible, lighted tube (an endoscope). The tube is put into your mouth and throat. It goes down your food pipe (esophagus), through your stomach, and into the first part of your small intestine (duodenum). A dye is injected into the bile ducts through the tube. The dye lets the bile ducts be seen clearly on X-rays. The tube has tools in it. The tools can remove fluid and blockages and take out gallstones. They can also put stents (firm tubes) in the ducts to keep them open.
  • Dialysis or a kidney transplant. May be needed if your kidneys stop working.
  • Surgery to remove gallstones or your gallbladder. This is done if gallstones or your gallbladder are causing pancreatitis.

If you have chronic pancreatitis you may also:

  • Have to avoid alcohol (if your pancreatitis is caused by alcohol abuse)
  • Have to stop smoking
  • Need enzyme supplements to help digest your food
  • Need insulin (if you get diabetes)
  • Need to eat small high-protein, low-fat meals
  • Need surgery to remove the permanently damaged part of your pancreas

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