Pancreatitis - discharge
You were in the hospital because you have pancreatitis. This is a swelling (Inflammation) of the pancreas. This article tells you what you need to know to take care of yourself after you go home from the hospital.
Chronic pancreatitis - discharge; Pancreatitis - chronic - discharge; Pancreatic insufficiency - discharge; Acute pancreatitis - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
During your stay in the hospital, you may have had blood tests and imaging exams, such as a CT scan or ultrasound. You may have been given medicines to help your pain or fight and prevent infections. You may have been given fluids through an intravenous (IV) tube in your vein and nutrition through a feeding tube or IV. You may have had a tube inserted through your nose that helped remove the contents of your stomach.
If your pancreatitis was caused by gallstones or a blocked duct, you may have had surgery. Your health care provider may also have drained a cyst (collection of fluid) in your pancreas.
After an episode of pain from pancreatitis, you should start off with drinking only clear liquids, such as soup broth or gelatin. You will need to follow this diet until your symptoms get better. Slowly add other foods back to your diet when you are better.
Talk with your provider about:
Always talk to your provider before taking any medicines or herbs.
DO NOT drink any alcohol.
If your body can no longer absorb fats that you eat, your provider may ask you to take extra capsules, called pancreatic enzymes. These will help your body absorb fats in your food better.
If your pancreas has a lot of damage, you may also develop diabetes. You will be checked for this problem.
Managing Your Pain
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and foods that make your symptoms worse is the first step to controlling pain.
Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), at first to try and control your pain.
You will get a prescription for pain medicines. Get it filled when you go home so you have it available. If the pain is getting worse, take your pain medicine to help before the pain becomes very bad.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have:
Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 144.
Tenner S, Baillie J, DeWitt J, Vege SS; American College of Gastroenterology. American College of Gastroenterology guideline: management of acute pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(9):1400-1415. PMID: 23896955 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23896955.
Tenner S, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 58.
Van Buren G, Fisher WE. Acute and chronic pancreatitis. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2019. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 163-170.
Review Date: 11/1/2018
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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