After untold hours of agony, 7 ER visits, a total of 14 doctors I was, In 1979, diagnosed with acute and chronic pancreatitis.
I am not a doctor. I am not a Ph.D. I didn't even attend college. Read everything on this page. If you need to leave, bookmark the page. The reason you'll want to do that is because I seriously doubt you will find this kind of in-depth, from-the-horses-mouth kind of information about living with pancreatitis anywhere else on the net unless it is on one of my sites.
Why Listen to Me?
Just because I am living with pancreatitis doesn't mean you should listen to me. I may have been living with pancreatitis for over 30 years, but that simply means I could be a lucky idiot; length of time in the saddle certainly doesn't mean I am a skilled rider does it? So, what is the real reason you might be interested in listening to me?
I Am Pain-Free-—and Symptom-Free
This is the most important reason. I was driven to uncover the formula, the secret to healing. If you are looking for information on how to beat pancreatitis and live pain-free I will share what I have learned with you.
The information you'll read on this page is not from someone who has simply read about the condition in order to gather the information necessary to write an article. This information is from someone who was diagnosed with pancreatitis, lived with the condition for a long time, and has found ways to adapt, improvise, and overcome.
That being said, please consult a licensed healthcare professional before beginning any dietary changes or treatment plans. But take their advice, as well as mine, with a grain of salt, and make sure you are well-informed before choosing any course of action.
Don't Take it Lightly
Sure the overall death rate from acute pancreatitis may average at less than 10 percent, but if you are one of the unlucky 10 percent, that would certainly suck, wouldn't it? Complications such as necrosis, infection, hemorrhage, and organ failure can bring that percentage up to 50 percent. The damage caused by acute pancreatitis often leads to chronic pancreatitis, causing long-term suffering.
If you have been diagnosed with acute and/or chronic pancreatitis, want to prevent more attacks and resulting damage, and lessen your pain and other symptoms without narcotics—and possibly heal your pancreas as well—this may be the article you've searched high and low for.
This article contains information on:
- My personal pancreatitis story
- How to stop an acute pancreatitis attack in less than 90 minutes
- Which foods are safe to eat and which foods will make you sick
- Why you should drink grapefruit juice
- The five supplements that helped me tremendously
And much more.
Why I Want to Share This Information
After gathering tons of information via research, and successfully getting rid of my pain and other symptoms, I was asked to share what I have learned. I compiled everything in one place for people who are suffering from pancreatitis or know someone who is.
As you read, you will learn about symptoms, my experience with doctors (and what I think of most of them), the primary and secondary causes, and the possible complications of the condition. You'll also discover what I have learned through experience about such things as diet, alternative home remedies and supplements, and my own regimen that I follow in order to make living with pancreatitis a lot easier, and I think safer.
My Pancreatitis Story
I was playing center linebacker for my high school football team when the injury happened. The fullback had the ball. He came through the line, head lower than mine (dummy me), and when we collided, his helmet smashed into my gut. About 200 pounds of charging meat smashing into my gut at full bore. I made the tackle, but he tagged me hard just below the rib cage—center mass. It felt great.
I sat out the rest of the game and my folks took me to the family doctor. I lay flat on my back as he put his hand on my abdomen and asked me to do a sit up. I couldn't. He figured the contact had torn my abdominal muscles and told my folks that I was to sit on the bench the rest of the season.
I started having more problems soon after: heartburn and nausea. My doctor thought it might have been an ulcer. That led to my first upper gastrointestinal (GI) test—the results turned up negative. He then scheduled me for a dye test for gallbladder disease. I guess teens can have gallstones, too; however, my gallbladder worked fine with no signs of gallstones. So, when tests didn't reveal any cause for my symptoms, I was, of course, diagnosed as a "headcase" with hypochondria. He obviously didn't remember I had been hurt playing ball. Here's the funny part...
My Symptoms Simply Disappeared
After several months of feeling like crap—with bouts of nausea for as long as two weeks and heartburn that started in my gut and traveled all the way to the tip of my tongue—my symptoms simply vanished. I was fine. Hey, I was damn glad they were gone. I didn't miss them, the doc, or the medical tests one bit.
I graduated from high school and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Towards the end of my last tour of duty, I started getting sick again. This time, I experienced heartburn, nausea, and pain. The pain would start in my stomach and bore into my back or vice versa. I went to the sickbay. The corpsman couldn't determine what was wrong and figured whatever it may be way beyond his pay grade, so he scheduled a visit to Oakland Naval Hospital. I felt good about the appointment because military doctors are usually good; they have to be to save lives in wartime trauma situations. I was looking forward to a resolution of my problem.
While at the hospital, I was subjected to another upper GI test, more blood work, saw a Naval doctor, and was sent back to duty with a prescription for Librax. The Librax took nausea away, but it did nothing for the pain. After about 30 days of on-and-off sickness, the symptoms again disappeared. What a relief to feel normal again.
I'm Diagnosed a Nut?
I found out later—after my enlistment and an honorable discharge—that the Naval doc thought it was all in my head (tests showed nothing), and he put that in my selective re-enlistment bonus (SRB)! I found out when applying for life insurance. I was told that my SRB showed a possible mental disorder. If I had stayed in the Corps, that little bit of info in my SRB could have seriously damaged my career as a Marine.
The Hurt Locker
Then, in the late 70s, the symptoms came back with a vengeance, and I visited the ER seven times. Seven ER visits and none of those people could figure out what the problem was. I was beginning to dislike doctors and understood why their business is called a practice. I had one doctor—a digestive disease specialist—tell me after a whole five minutes that he thought I was too young to have a serious problem and that he was sure I had a spastic colon.
Back then, I did not have a computer or access to quick information online, so I spent a lot of time in the library reading about diseases and their symptoms. I found that gallbladder disease can present with similar symptoms, and passing stones can be painful, but there are some key differences between gallbladder disease and pancreatitis.
- Alcohol doesn't affect the gallbladder but will cause major pain with pancreatitis.
- With pancreatitis, the pain is usually more severe and sudden, but it can also have a gradual build up. Patients often experience a telltale pain starting in front and boring into the back or vice versa.
Symptoms That I Experienced
- Severe pain
- Swollen abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Fever and chills
- Rapid heartbeat
One symptom I had when the condition was really bad was that I could not stand something, like an arm or hand, laying on my abdomen. It would make me nauseous and cause pain. At times, any motion (e.g. driving the car or running) would make me sick, and I had never experienced motion sickness of any kind before—even on board ships.
I finally found a really good doctor, Dr. Langdon, who not only reordered tests I had done previously but also ordered new tests, some of which he did himself, like sticking a scope down my throat so he could view my bile ducts.
He gave me two drugs that induced an acute pancreatitis attack while in his office. He then drew blood every 30 minutes for approximately three hours when my enzyme levels suddenly spiked. This confirmed his suspicions. He asked me how many times this had happened, and I told him of the seven ER visits and that those were just the really horrible attacks. He calmly mentioned that I was lucky I wasn't dead.
The "You're Gonna Die" Chat
We had our little discussion about "preparing for the worst." He told me I had been having acute pancreatitis attacks and that I'd probably continue to have chronic problems. He went on to say that within 10 years I'd be looking at a pancreatic transplant because my pancreas would cease to function; that I wouldn't be able to eat and that the success of pancreatic transplants at the time wasn't the best. I think he was trying to tell me that within 10 years I might be dead.
I had finally found a good doctor. He told me to cut out alcohol and gave me a few prescriptions. The first, Robinul, was to help slow down the digestive process. Compazine was for nausea and Demerol for the pain. The Demerol didn't help—it didn't even take the edge off.
However, one night, while I was in massive pain, I was going through the medicine cabinet when I discovered my wife's Motrin—big pills that the bottle said to take for pain. I was in extreme pain, so I popped one of those horse pills. In about 30 minutes, my pain started to subside and completely went away in less than an hour. I was one happy guy. I told Dr. Langdon about the pills. He told me they were an anti-inflammatory, and as long as they worked, he sure didn't have a problem with them. In fact, he was a little upset that he didn't prescribe an anti-inflammatory since pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas.
Cool! Things were looking up! I had pills that would slow down my gut, pills for nausea, and pills that actually took the pain away without the chance of becoming addicted to opiates like morphine. Now it was time to learn how to heal and beat the 10 year time period.
I Wanted to Live
I did loads of research after my diagnosis that led me to completely eliminate red meat, pork, mayo, butter, cream, and everything else with high-fat content from my diet. In other words, I was on a diet of fish, poultry (chicken and turkey), fruit, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain products. I also started taking vitamins and minerals to enable me to get enough nutrients absorbed because one of the complications that arise from pancreatitis is malabsorption. Basically, it means you don't absorb nutrients from food like you should. I started taking a multivitamin/mineral formula.
Years later I found research on OPCs (antioxidants like Pycnogenol and grape seed) and curcumin (turmeric). The benefits of the two sounded too good to be true, but I gave them a shot. I started taking vitamin C, grape seed, and turmeric. Then, after six months of no problems, to test the effectiveness of the supplements, I stopped taking my prescriptions. Six months later, I still had no problems. The diet and supplements were definitely working.
However, I didn't know what part of my treatment regimen was most important, so I tried eating red meat. After a few days of steak, roast, and hamburgers I was sick as a dog. So that meant the diet was very important. Once I was symptom-free again I eliminated the vitamin C, grape seed, and curcumin. Soon I was sick again. I figured that meant that both the low-fat diet and the three supplements were necessary.
What I got away from this: I'm still alive and can still eat.
... inflammation of the pancreas causes some of the most severe pain that people have ever imagined
— Dr. David C. Whitcomb
Those of you who have friends or family who just can't get their head wrapped around the agony you go through and say stupid things like, "It just can't be that bad!" or "I've had a baby, that is the worst pain. I don't see how yours can compare." or some other ignorant, uninformed remark with regards to your ability to function—have them watch the video below.
The two most common causes of pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Gallstone pancreatitis occurs when a gallstone or stones pass from the gallbladder and get stuck in the pancreatic duct or the ampulla of Vater portion of the common bile duct.
- Alcoholic pancreatitis has always been thought to occur in those who consume large amounts of alcohol (frequent drinking over time or binge drinking).
Other causes include:
- Traumatic abdominal injury: A car wreck, bad fall, gunshot wound or a 200-pound fullback slamming into your gut at full speed may cause pancreatitis.
- Pancreatic cancer
- Autoimmune disease
- Hereditary pancreatitis
- Some medications (the list is long)
- Surgery and certain medical procedures such as ERCP
- Infections like mumps
- High blood fat levels
- Sphincter of Oddii dysfunction
- Pancreatic abnormalities such as pancreas divisum
Research on Genetic Causes of Pancreatitis
Pancreatitis pain is horrendous. I wanted to post this so that patients' family members and friends can hear from a prominent pancreas doctor what the pain is like.
Researchers are discovering some types of pancreatitis are hereditary and that some patients may be genetically predisposed. This type of information may be of value to those who are like me and like to know why they may have this disease condition.
Dr. Whitcomb, Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center discusses the genetic factors involved in those who develop pancreatitis.
It is extremely important to understand what you are really dealing with and how important it is for you to keep your pancreas as uninflamed as possible in order to avoid serious complications that could result in your death.The more you do to help yourself, the better off you are going to be.
The more serious, life-threatening complications:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Necrotizing pancreatitis (infection)
- Organ failure (kidney, heart, lungs, liver)
- Systemic shock
Other complications include:
- Breathing problems
Pancreatitis Can Be Difficult to Diagnose
One reason is that many doctors have difficulty diagnosing anything unless it slaps them in the face. For example, only a CT scan showing damage due to inflammation or cysts the size of watermelons will help them arrive at a diagnosis of pancreatitis, but if you don't have those types of complications yet, it can be difficult to diagnose the problem.
If you have moderate to severe gastrointestinal symptoms and have yet to have a doctor give you a correct, common sense diagnosis, make sure you persevere in finding a gastroenterologist who received his/her degree from somewhere other than Cracker Jack University, is able to recall what they learned in medical school, and uses common sense along with the modern diagnostic tools.
I know I am asking a lot because finding a good doctor with great diagnostic skills is like locating a huge placer gold deposit, but I know there are at least one in 14 (7%) who have brains and diagnostic ability. In fact, here's one who wrote a review article about chronic pancreatitis and the current problems of diagnostic criteria.
Just make sure you don't give up. The sooner you get diagnosed, the better because there is evidence that the damage from both acute and chronic pancreatitis can be reversible if it is diagnosed early enough, if you take appropriate measures to ensure the inflammation has completely abated, and if the tissue is allowed to heal.
I wish you good luck.
I know, from personal experience and what I read on online support groups, that life expectancy is likely on your mind, and this is a difficult question to which I have no definitive answer—and neither does anyone else.
I was told I may have only 10 years left when I was diagnosed. A few articles say 7-10 years once diagnosed, while others say it takes an average of 10 to 15 years off your life expectancy.
- "Determining the cause of acute pancreatitis and treating it quickly may help prevent chronic pancreatitis. Not drinking a lot of alcohol reduces the risk of developing this condition." MedLine Plus
- "Chronic pancreatitis is associated with a reduction in life expectancy. Only half of the patients with a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis will survive for longer than seven years following diagnosis." NetDoctor
- "This is a serious disease that may lead to disability and death. You can reduce the risk by avoiding alcohol." PubMed Health
- One article, published in 1994, states that survival rate at 10 years was 70 percent. That is good news! Seventy percent were still alive at the 10-year mark; maybe things have improved, and survival is much better today.
- Another article, published in 1993, states that pancreatic surgery ends up being worthless as far, as pain management is concerned, and that survival time is about the same. This should tell you to search for other options. I absolutely believe I have survived for 20 more years than I was told because of changes to my diet, supplements, and avoiding the use of medicines and procedures that promote acute pancreatitis.
All of this tells me that even though the pain may make you wish you were dead, you can live for a fairly long time with this disease. In fact, I am living proof that you can live with, and overcome, pancreatitis as long as you are willing to change certain things.
To me, it boils down to is this: Most people who die from chronic pancreatitis likely die from an acute attack that turns into severe acute pancreatitis. If you look closely, none of the articles above state that patients die directly from chronic pancreatitis. It is usually the result of complications, and what is the most likely complication?
This leads me to believe that if you can prevent acute pancreatitis, you may be able to extend your life. Would that not be a good thing? What are you willing to do to survive and maybe enjoy life again?
Are you willing to quit drinking?
Are you willing to avoid foods that trigger acute inflammation?
Only you can answer those questions.
Is There a Cure?
I know that when you are in extreme pain, there is nothing you'd like to find more than a cure.
I'm not gonna lie to you. There is no cure for pancreatitis.
However, my research is leading me to believe there may be hope of possible pancreatic tissue regeneration. If this is possible, the treatment would go further than just preventing pain and catastrophic damage and possible death due to shock, necrosis, infection, or organ failure. The less damage sustained, the easier it will be for the pancreas to regenerate.
Don't get your hopes up.
However, if there is any possibility of regeneration, I am sure it would only happen when the pancreas is not inflamed by alcohol or a poor diet.
I know that even though the possibility of pancreatic tissue regeneration may be good news—it isn't the news you were hoping to hear. You were hoping to hear that there is indeed a pancreatitis cure. As far as I know, there are none. Once the pancreas is damaged, it is likely you will have another event of acute inflammation, after which the condition will become chronic. Since there is no cure, we must adapt and improvise to manage the pain and damage and allow the pancreas to heal.
Mayo Clinic Pancreatitis Treatment
This fairly new surgical technique could be a real blessing for some people with necrotic pancreatitis. There really are some brilliant minds out there in doctor land, finding them seems to be the difficulty.
Below, I have included links to information on what I categorize as "last resort" options. I do not recommend slicing and dicing. The sickest people—those who cannot seem to heal—are the ones who have been, what I call, "gutted" by some surgeon. There are instances (necrosis with infection) that certainly warrant surgical intervention, and the patient may not live without it. Under those circumstances, you may have no choice.
For those who are not yet seriously damaged, I am more inclined to suggest a total lifestyle and diet change. This has worked for me, though it isn't easy to give up foods you love. Still, I'd rather do that and keep my organs intact.
However, many people may not share my views. This is why I've gathered information on common surgical options. When you continue to eat foods that are inflammatory to the pancreas or continue to drink alcohol, sooner or later, you'll need this information.
- ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography)
ERCP is used to go inside and take a look at your abdominal area. Biles ducts, pancreatic duct, remove stones and other intricate procedures. It can, and does, cause acute pancreatitis.
- Longitudinal Pancreaticojejunostomy (Puestow Procedure)
The Puestow procedure is used for pain relief, suspected malignancy, or correcting pancreatitis complications.
Surgery for Necrotizing Pancreatitis
I have been lucky. So far, to my knowledge, I have not had any major complications such as necrosis, cysts, or infections. The last thing I want is to now develop necrotizing pancreatitis. It has a fairly high death rate—as much as 50 percent when coupled with organ failure. This is why I take great care in adhering to my very low-fat diet, abstaining from alcohol in every form, and consuming sufficient quantities of certain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, curcumin, grape seed, vitamin C, and enzymes.
The Puestow, Frey, and Whipple Procedures
These surgical procedures are done either to correct complications or alleviate pain. Once done, they cannot be undone, and most people who I have either chatted with online or read about are worse off after the procedures than they were before. Some experience pain relief for a brief time but then are back in the same boat—and usually worse because their boat now has holes.
Islet Cell Autotransplant After Total Pancreatectomy (TP/AIT)
Twelve-year-old Brittany Alexander suffered with pancreatitis since she was four years old. In May 2012, Brittany underwent a pancreatectomy and islet cell autotransplant. One month after her surgery, Brittany talks with Dr. Katherine Morgan and nurse coordinator Betsy Shuford at the Digestive Disease Center Division of Gastrointestinal Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Important Note: Brittany and others I have found online have newly done procedures, all within the last couple of years. I have not been able to find any living patient experiences after five years. Make sure you read the next section about TP/AIT, including what little research there is online about outcomes—both short and long-term—that seem to be very elusive and non-existent.
What Are Healthy Food Choices for Pancreatitis?
First of all, if you are just coming out of an attack, my best advice is to just drink water for 48 hours and then try some fruit and/or vegetable juice. This is to give your pancreas a "rest" from its digestive duties.
If you have encountered no symptoms for 72 hours—preferrably 96 hours—you can try a small meal of brown rice and vegetables. I mean a small meal, maybe half a cup. If that goes well, have another half a cup in an hour or two.
Eat five or six small meals per day, but if you begin to feel any symptoms, stop eating and take an aspirin or ibuprofen, grape seed extract, and curcumin to stop the inflammation. Give your pancreas another rest.
I suggest you take grape seed extract (one mg per pound of body weight) along with 500 mg of curcumin and at least 1000 mg of vitamin C daily. These supplements will reduce inflammation and help calm your pancreas. You can buy them from any well-stocked health food store.
You'll also need digestive enzymes with pancreatin 4X. These are best taken 15-20 minutes before every meal. They help ease the workload of the pancreas.
If you are not hungry, do not eat. You will definitely feel it if you eat unnecessarily. Your lifestyle has to change now that you have this condition.
Foods that are usually safe and healthy are strictly vegan:
- Whole grains, such as oatmeal, wheat bread, rye bread, wheat germ, barley, brown rice, and bulgar.
- Legumes, such as beans (vegetarian), peas, and lentils.
- Tubers, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, and rutabagas
- Leafy greens, such as spinach, lettuce, and chard.
- Cruciferous veggies, such as Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.
- Fruit, such as tomatoes, apples, oranges, pomegranate, pineapple, mangos, and papaya.
Note: Avocados are also fruit, but they contain high amounts of fats and should be avoided unless you feel extremely lucky or have been symptom-free for over six months. If you eat avocado, eat only small amounts.
If you cook your food, find a way to do so without using oil. None. Zip. Nada. No oil. Got it?
Once you taken the supplements for six months and have had no symptoms while eating a strict vegan diet, you can begin to try other foods—in small quantities.
These other foods are:
- Fat-free or 1% milk
- Fish (trout, tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, or white fish like bass, perch, and crappie)
- Skinless chicken and turkey (broiled, boiled, or BBQ'd)
- Eggs (soft boiled, hard boiled, poached)
- Avocado, flax seed, nuts (very small amounts)
Remember: Cook everything without oil or grease of any kind.
If you experience any unpleasant symptoms, again, rest your pancreas and start again after 96 hours with the strict vegan regimen.
Absolutely no alcohol. Watch out for cough syrup, vanilla extract, and cold remedies.
One of the best ways to obtain quality, easily digested nutrients with little to no fat is to drink fresh juice made from organic fruits and vegetables. If you have enough damage due to acute and/or chronic pancreatitis that has resulted in malabsorption, juicing will make it easier for your small intestines to absorb nutrients. Those are two great reasons to buy your own juicer and start juicing. In order to avoid pesticides, which are undoubtedly harmful to an already sick pancreas, it is best to choose organic produce.
Go Vegan to Heal
A vegan diet (not vegetarian—there is a big difference) is considered a very low-fat diet. However, you must consider that even though strict vegans do not eat meat or dairy products, they still use oil in cooking, and that is something you should avoid.
You need to do this for at least six months to one year. Eliminating all saturated fats, oils, and alcohol is simply a smart, healthy choice unless you enjoy pain.
Keep in mind that not all vegan recipes will work for you because some do contain too much fat for a damaged pancreas. However, they can give you ideas for tasty and generally safe meals. Substitution or elimination of certain ingredients such as sauces, salad dressings, avocado, and other high-fat foods may be necessary.
Do this for at least six months or until your pain, nausea, and abdominal tenderness is gone. Then, you can try to alter your diet to include some dairy, fish, and poultry.
Supplements I Take That Have Helped Me
When I use them I feel a whole lot better and experience fewer attacks and symptoms. I can't say they will help you. Everyone is different but I know what they do for me. In fact, I know they are the only reason I don't have more problems with pancreatitis than I do.
When I first started, I worked my way up to daily doses of:
- 400-800 mg of grape seed extract
- 500-1000 mg of curcumin
- 500-5000 mg of vitamin C
Now that I am better, I take daily maintenance doses of:
- 200 mg of grape seed
- 500 mg of curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric)
- 1000-2000 mg of vitamin C
Grape Seed Extract
Side Effects of Grape Seed Extract:
Some people experience nausea and headache with higher doses due to the magnitude of detoxification. If you experience these symptoms, decrease the dose, but try to take at least one mg per pound of body weight each day and work up to the higher doses.
Side Effects of Vitamin C:
Although rare, vitamin C can cause some intestinal problems at high doses. It can give some people the runs. Just work through it, it won't kill you. I have taken up to 10,000 mg per day of vitamin C for 30 days. Your body will become used to both of these super antioxidants and things will go back to normal.
Once you are well (no symptoms or abdominal tenderness), you can decrease the dose of grape seed down to a maintenance dose of at least one milligram per pound of body weight. Curcumin can come down to 500 mg per day and vitamin C at 1000-2000 mg per day. If this regimen works for you like it does for me, you'll notice that you feel better in a few days, and over time, may heal. Do not come off the high doses too soon. Make sure you are completely symptom-free. You'll know because your abdomen will feel normal when you push in with your hand or have someone do it while you lie down. It should not be a painful experience.
Since the pancreas produces the enzymes needed to break down a meal, I also take digestive enzymes about 15 minutes before meals, which seems to help possibly because it takes some of the load of producing enzymes off my pancreas. Just like the maintenance doses of the grape seed, curcumin, and vitamin C you will always need to take enzymes.
Curcumin, along with grape seed extract, seems to put the inflammation out like water on a campfire. Both grape seed and curcumin are highly anti-inflammatory and they are extremely potent antioxidants. They have also shown remarkable ability to inhibit cancer cell growth (a possible complication of long-term chronic pancreatitis).
Daily antioxidant supplementation appears to relieve pain and reduce oxidative stress in patients with chronic pancreatitis, who may be deficient in antioxidants.
Dr. Pramod K. Garg and colleagues from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi gave chronic pancreatitis patients daily doses of 600 ug organic selenium, 540 mg ascorbic acid, 9000 IU beta-carotene, 270 IU alpha-tocopherol and 2 g methionine. All patients were treated in the standard manner with analgesics on demand and pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy. After six months, the reduction in the number of painful days per month was higher in the antioxidant group than the placebo group. One-third of patients became pain-free on this treatment.
It only took the medical community 14 years more than me to figure this stuff out (that certain high-potency antioxidants relieve pancreatitis pain), and frankly, I'll bet grape seed, curcumin, and vitamin C work better and are non-toxic. Selenium, even though proven to fight heart disease and cancer, in high doses becomes toxic, causing a vast array of problems. Large doses of methionine will immediately raise blood plasma levels of homocysteine, which irritates artery walls and can lead to atherosclerosis.
I'll stick with my vitamin C, grape seed extract, and curcumin.
Warning: If you have Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD) or gallstones you may want to avoid curcumin and turmeric because it increases bile flow.
Even with extra enzymes to help digest food, someone with pancreatitis may also suffer from malabsorption, which means that your small intestines don't absorb as nutrients as efficiently as they should. This means it is important to supplement with a quality multivitamin and mineral formulation.
Not all multivitamins are good. When choosing a multivitamin, look at quality (real, natural vitamins, not synthetic) and not price. Stay away from the cheap stuff you see advertised on TV. I won't mention any names but cheap one-a-days are useless.
Things to Remember When Fighting Pancreatitis
You are now in a war, a battle for your life because for some reason, your pancreas has been injured. It doesn't matter if it shows on a CT scan. If your pancreas was perfectly healthy, you wouldn't have the condition—period.
"Every battle is won before it is fought" - Sun Tzu
This means that if you want to win the battle you need to out-fox your pancreas. You need to know what will cause it to become inflamed, or worse, to destroy itself, thereby killing you.
Things to Know and Take Seriously:
- You must eat to live instead of live to eat. Eliminating alcohol, red meat, pork, lamb, duck, butter, mayo, margarine, and anything else with a high-fat content from your diet is absolutely imperative. Read labels on anything you purchase. Make sure that hidden fats such as palm oil, coconut oil, butter, oil-based products (margarine, CoolWhip, etc...) are not used.
- Be careful of cough syrup, cold remedies, mouthwash, and even vanilla extract because many contain alcohol, and, yes, the alcohol in mouthwash can be absorbed via the skin, especially under the tongue.
- Bananas must be eaten before they begin to spot because the spotting signals that the sugar is turning into alcohol. Trust me—I learned this stuff the hard way.
- If you haven't been told by your doctor or figured it out yet from what I have said previously, alcohol is a big no-no with pancreatitis. Yes, that means no wine with dinner and no beer at ball games.
The important thing you must understand is that you need to make a choice between keeping your guilty pleasures and possibly dying a painful death and eliminating alcohol and certain foods and possibly living to old age. The choice is yours, and I already made mine years ago.
Always Think Anti-Inflammation:
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas. So when I feel unwell, like an attack is coming on, I immediately take aspirin. I used to wait until the pain was bad, but I finally figured out it makes more sense to take the aspirin at the first hint of trouble. I'd rather waste 10 cents worth of aspirin than take any chances. I switched from high doses of Motrin to 1300mg (4 tabs) of aspirin simply because I feel aspirin is safer. It also thins the blood so that when I get tachycardia, I lessen the chances of developing a clot.
I use several spices that lower inflammation. For example, in my rice and vegetables, I add in a nice dose of the following:
- Cayenne Pepper
All of those spices are highly anti-inflammatory and garlic has another plus—it is a natural antibiotic that bugs do not become resistant towards. Cayenne pepper helps with pain as well, and ginger helps with nausea. I use these four spices a lot! And I use them liberally.
Eat at Home:
One of the things I have learned is that it is much safer to eat at home and to eat only what I have prepared myself. The reason is simple. Your family and friends may care about you, even love you dearly, but they have been cooking their way for years. If they use a little butter, bacon fat, mayo, or marinade that chicken breast with a little wine or whatever—they inadvertently think: "It's just a little, what's it gonna hurt?" Well, that little bit of bacon grease in the fried potatoes will probably make you very ill and could possibly lead to complications that kill you. You need to ask yourself: "Is it worth it?"
I know this is what happens because I have become ill eating food prepared by friends and family. I found the easiest way to remedy the problem was to simply avoid foods prepared by others. I've had two wives and a myriad of live-in girlfriends. They all made me sick with their food, even though it was unintentional. My own mother, who loves me dearly, has made me sick with her cooking. You absolutely must take responsibility for your own life and avoid eating foods prepared by others. They simply don't get the significance of: "A little dab will do ya." And I don't mean that in a good way because that little dab may lead to the attack that turns chronic pancreatitis into an acute episode that ends your life.
You may think I am being overprotective, but I'm still alive after more than 30 years. I've learned the hard way, and I've been extremely lucky. I also understand that my luck could run out at any time; personally, I'd prefer it be much later than tomorrow or next week. So, again, you need to choose what is best for your health and longevity.
A Word on Pancreatitis Support Groups
A thing to have is a group of supportive people who actually know what you are going through. Most people, such as family, friends, and co-workers have no clue what you endure daily and can be downright offensive due to their lack of understanding. If you have recently been diagnosed or have suffered for quite sometime, you may find comfort in knowing you are not alone. Support groups are places to vent on a bad day, ask questions, and simply hang out with others who know what the pain and other symptoms are like.
However, be advised!
I have joined several support groups, and they all have one thing in common that drives me nuts: they are full of sick people who give advice to others, which is guaranteed to keep you sick. If someone gives you advice (what they eat, what they take, what they do, what they think) and they are not pain-free and well, please—for your own well-being—do not listen. I guarantee that if you follow the advice of someone who hasn't gotten better, you aren't going to either. Following the advice of someone in a support group who is still sick, suffering pain, and looking for answers via surgeries and other procedures is like following financial advice from your uncle who has gone bankrupt three times and is still in a mountain of debt—it simply doesn't make sense.
This article was designed and updated for one reason: to help people heal their pancreas, if possible. Not everyone will be able to heal even if they do exactly what I do because they are already so far gone, it isn't possible)
If I had found someone like me when I was extremely ill, I would have jumped at the chance to learn and do anything that made sense to stop the unbelievable pain. I've been through it and have come out mostly pain-free, and I am sharing what I've learned with you here.
If you ask me a question, I will tell you what I would do, not what you should do because I am not a doctor. I can't give medical advice, nor can I prescribe a course of treatment. I would suggest that you never do what I do (avoid the ER when prudent) because you can die from acute pancreatitis. I do not trust doctors. I have my reasons for that, but that does not mean I am right.
As for support groups, I wouldn't recommend them. You will receive too much erroneous information. I have been a member of about five groups, and all have been what I'd call a bunch of sick, clueless people offering advice on how to stay sick.
However, if you need support feel free to ask. There is only one of me, and I don't spend all my time on this site, but when I see a comment in the form of a question, I answer it. If I know the answer I'll tell you what I know, and if I don't know the answer I'll tell you and then look for the best answer, hopefully, supported by science, so that you can make an intelligent decision.
I'll tell you this: doctors are not always right—they just think they are omnipotent. They call their business a "practice" for a reason and that is because they "practice" on you. That is why I never do anything some white coat tells me to do (have a procedure, pop a pill, etc) without doing research on that procedure, medication, or surgery first, whenever possible.
If you would like to join a support group, then feel free, but pay extremely close attention to who you accept advice from because there are so many erroneous and damaging postings in support groups that I do not feel comfortable recommending them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2010 TheHealthGuy LM
Any Thoughts, Questions, or Stories? Feel Free to Share!
Cindy on July 02, 2020:
Check your label. Grape Seed powder has no oil and is in a pill, not dropped in water.
Harla on July 02, 2020:
Thanks so much for the info
Does the grape seed have oil or fat in it. I notice it looks like oil when dropped in water but the label doesn’t mention it. I do no oil like you.
Kiran on June 28, 2020:
So you take the asprin and the anti-inflammatory supplements even when you are doing a clear liquid diet?
Ellen Reed on May 18, 2020:
Everything in this article I can relate too except I get uncontrollable diahera with the pain cant stop it it’s painful an disgustingly smells I have the Divisum I’m so sick of this 70yrs young an I feel hopeless afraid to date cause she ll poop my pants an fall over in pain I care for my 94 yr young hero (daddy) with demicia my life is a hoot when I’m in a flare up just got diagnosed in January but have been having this problem most of my life but no one ever diagnosed it till just this year by an mri pancreas study I just want to give up but won’t allow myself to do that ty for the article is the uncontrolled diahera a part of chronic pancreatitis or am I just the lucky one
Cindy Yeh on April 10, 2020:
Thank you for this article. Your fasting and diet advice saved my life. Felt like all my organs were about to shut down, my pee was terrifyingly dark. Doctors horrible. Ate yesterday with no pain. I've got a routine going for meals now! 1 digestive pill, digestive tea with extra cinnamon and clove, a scant 1/2 cup brown rice with turmeric and mustard and garlic, 1/4 cup arugula, 1/4 cup beans ground with fresh italian herbs, fresh ginger, crushed garlic, green papaya juice-careful people with latex allergies I am one of them but tried this out of desperation, cilantro, black pepper, and cayenne, 1 Tbl pumpkin puree with clove and cinnamon. Put a lotion on abdomen and back with aromatherapy essential oils for digestion. Was chewing cinnamon or peppermint sugar-free gum for digestion and to keep down hunger pains. Plan to use more cayenne and try for 3 meals tomorrow! Thank you, you're a life saver.
Chris on January 18, 2020:
I have had constant what feels like pressure in the left side of my abdomen for about 2 years. It's ruined my life to be quite honest. I've never had high amylase or lipase readings,I don't have pain/pressure anywhere other than the left side of my abdomen which also feels like it's pulled inward and tight. I've had a fecal elastase test that was normal. I've had 3 CT scans that were normal. I've had 8 endoscopies done along with 2 colonoscopies that didn't show anything significant other than gastritis. My pain/ pressure is located mid abdomen on the left side. However when I had an endoscopic ultrasound performed it showed some hyperchoic strands and lobularity in my pancreas. The physician said I didn't have enough there to prove cp so the diagnosis would be suggestive of cp based on the Rosemont criteria, but did say I may have pain based on her findings. I took presdnisone for an unrelated problem and it completely alleviated my chronic pain/pressure for about two weeks. I only adhered to about 3 days of the suggested regiment of presdnisone because I had forgot my pills at home one day. Also, when I have diahrea my pain/pressure is drastically reduced...does this sound like anybody else's pancreatitis experience here? Just trying to solve this, any response would be appreciated.
Neva A Perkins on October 19, 2019:
Thank you sooooo very much for all the help you have been to me. I've read many times what you have written and am following your advice. I must tell you the truth---following your advice has made a vast difference in my condition of pancreatitis. I try very hard to eat fat free and take Grape Seed Extract, Tumeric, Curcumin and vitamins. I do take ibuprofen & enezymes that NOW makes called Pancreatin but I'm going to try the enzymes you suggested. (I just now ordered the enzymes you suggested from Amazon), Thank you again, I cannot say enough good about how much you have helped me. May God Bless You!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on April 03, 2019:
Hi Cassie - somehow I missed this comment for quite sometime. I apologize. I'm sorry you had to experience the suffering. I hope by now you are well and doing much better. Thank you for sharing your story.
Janet on February 20, 2019:
Thanks so much. Very useful. Out of curiosity, how long have you had success with your new lifestyle? Do you believe it is possible for someone with mild chronic pancreatitis to halt the progress of the disease if they are extremely careful about their lifestyle and reach a point where they are pain free? Or will it continue to progress in the backround as it were?
Bill Parsons on December 11, 2018:
Thank you for this article, I’ve been taking notes….. I think I am the new boy to this, “yey six days in”!
Last Tue night, 6 nights ago. I was woken by a server pain at the top of my stomach, just under the ribs, no nausea and vomiting, just pain. Long story short my wife got me to the hospital and four hours later diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. I was admitted.
I spent 5 nights, the first 2, (including the night/morning I got to the hospital were very painful)
I was told, as way of explanation, if the normal function level of a pancreas is 100 I was at 1200 from the first, I don’t know what he was measuring….. I didn’t much care at this point!
After another 24 hours I was told the levels had dropped to normal, I did feel a lot better, if not still a little sore, after 24 hours, I felt completely well with no side effects, they kept me in till the one more day for observation. I checked out on Sunday just……
I have given up the ‘booze and the one night stands’, and eat right, but I’m a little confused. From reading most of the information it would seem there is no going back, one now can only manage not heal……. I am being lead to believe different from my doctor who say I should make a full recovery, but will be susceptible to getting an attack if I don’t stick to ‘living right’ by my pancreas.
I’ve never had an attack before, can the damage done revert? Did I have a mild attack? Is there such a thing, ‘Mild attack’?
Interesting thing; I’m living in Thailand near Chiang Mai. I had a conversation in which my specialist told me this, Farang, (westerns) suffer far more with acute pancreatitis than Thai, Thai suffer with liver problems from drinking more that farang and he thinks it could be as simple as the type of alcohol being drunk. Poor Thais drinking rice whisky, farang are drinking more beer. Sounds silly? He thinks there is a link.
Thanks for your time
ThisSweatyLife on September 13, 2018:
Thank you so much for this article. My husband was diagnosed last year. It has transformed our lives...honestly for the better. It's a shame that sometimes it takes being on life support and almost losing everything to get you to do what you need to.
I have read before that grape seed is great for the Pancreas. I never ended up buying any. Then it just kinda slipped my mind. I just placed an order of the one you use. My husband had been doing so great with no pain unless he ate something wrong. Lately, it hasn't been so great. He has gone back on Creon and hopefully between that and the grape seed he can get back to being pain-free.
I do really appreciate this article. I think that so many people even Dr. are unaware of how much the pancreas does and how horrible it is when it isn't acting right.
Carmen on July 18, 2018:
I was diagnosed with pancreatic divisum recently. I have never had a problem until abt a year ago. They finally figured out that one of my ducts shut down and tried to do ERCP and put a stent in but my duct is too small. I have been on a vegetarian diet for 6 months and no alcohol for 9 months. I am tryin to figure out what my options are and DRs don’t always help. My lipase levels are usually around 200-400. I’m in pain and sick pretty much everyday. I don’t eat until late afternoon or evening. I am goin to try what your doin with these supplements and stuff. I’m just wondering with mine being that my duct is too small to really move the enzymes do you think this will help. Just nervous about goin under the knife and coming out worse.
Grace on July 10, 2018:
When I do the 2 days of just water and then the fruit juice do I still take the vitamins and can I take other medications that don't contain alcohol. I can't find a doctor that will tell me anything except stay away from fats, alcohol and nsaids. I had a terrible pancreatitis attack after an ercp, I was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks and it was terrible. I don't trust doctors and am just trying to find some relief. I'm still in terrible pain.
Grace Arthur on July 03, 2018:
thanks much for sharing this important information. I am very grateful. God bless you.
Nicky Naushahi on July 01, 2018:
It was like reading my life story. I had to have the Whipple about 15yrs. Ago. I do control my diet, only eat my cooking, take enzymes, turmeric and supplements. My acute pancreatic never went away until after a year I had the surgery. It took a year to recover and have attacks periodically. I eat an anti-inflammatory diet and keep as fit as possible. Thank God I had a great doctor who diagnosed it immediately. I had been to others and I'm sure I was a "nut case " to them too! I know exactly how you felt.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on June 19, 2018:
Hi Deborah Minter :-) Thank you for sharing your story. I am really glad to hear you have successfully beating pancreatitis. And I agree with you I think diet plays a tremendous roll in healing a damaged pancreas even reversing the damage in some cases. I wish you continued good health!
Deborah Minter from U.S, California on June 15, 2018:
I am so happy for you! You have found a way to live a healthy life. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis as a child, and I remember the pain all to well. The cause of my condition was a mystery. I am currently cured, I have had no symptoms for over seventeen years. Unfortunately I don't have a clear cut reason as to why. My family and doctors were, and are mystified by my healthy condition. However there are some similarities between this article and my situation. I had to smile at your word "practice," indeed that's how it felt when doctors wanted to take a shot in the dark, at what might help me. I went home one day after an attack and decided I would try to be as healthy as I could, at least to help my body recover from it's ordeal. I read a lot of material on nutritious food, and ate only what I thought would improve my health. Lucky for me, at that time my family moved to a location with tremendous air quality. I was on my health nut streak, (on retrospect I should have read more about the condition of pancreatitis), when I decided to take garlic and cayenne powder capsules on a daily basis. I noticed you mention cayenne and garlic here. I tried homemade ginger water that my ant made, and I loved the flavor. I drank ginger water all the time. Fast forward a few years, and my attacks became less, the pain and vomiting use to last days, then they went for only average 4 hours. I didn't associate it with my 'diet' but to the relief of my loved ones, there was hope I could actually be a regular healthy person. Fast forward.. Another year..... I couldn' t explain why symptoms and attacks just all stopped. My mother told me once she thought it was my diet, and maturity that caused me to outgrow it. Some people think maybe I never had pancreatitis in the first place. I don't know. I currently have a clean bill of health, and I was told during my last check up that I was in extraordinarily healthy condition. Physically I feel wonderful, and enjoy participating in things like dancing. I still eat nutritously. I am not a vegan or vegetarian, but I eat strictly organic vegetables and meat,( once I read about hormones and rsbts, I stayed away from that), and I hate fatty food. I still take powdered garlic and cayenne capsules, some habitts die hard. I don't drink at all. Doctors hardly spoke to me about diet, but one doctor told me that alcohol was the worst thing for the pancreas, and I took his words to heart. I drank some champagne a few years back at a wedding, I was fine but I have no interest in liquor, I don't touch the stuff. I am happy to be alive! It feels like a distant memory, when use to feel hopeless and doomed, just to always feel sick. The last time I told someone that I use to be chronically ill, they just laughed and said I was exagerating, "I looked to good to have had a health issue." Thank you for writing this article! All I know is that my life was turned around for the better, and what I ate most likely played a hand in it. If there is a way to deal with this terrible condition with diet? Then I think everyone should know it.
Jill Amaral on December 10, 2017:
Hi I have had 4 pancreas attacks in one year the Doctors here in Hawaii ( all 2 of them are idiots in my book) day I have tumors on my pancreas that need to be drained every six months. (Which only sends me into another attack) They don’t know what caused it as I have never been a drinker at all an they say I have no gallstones
I’m in a panicked state all the time and don’t know how to eat properly for this
I do take pancreaze dr before I eat but it’s what to eat that’s freaking me out. Do you have a recommendation for a good vegan cookbook? Thank you sooo much for this article
Linda on October 04, 2017:
I’ve had chronic pancreatitis for about 16 years. I have less symptoms since I started turmeric about 6 months ago. When I have lab work done, my liver enzymes are always normal and the doctors say my pancreas is just fine my symptoms doesn’t say my pancreas is ok.
Tammy on September 07, 2017:
I had an acute pancreatitis episode about 15 years ago and was hospitalized for it. The pain was in my chest and back. I felt like the proverbial elephant was on my chest. I was given a nitroglycerin drip and morphine and put on a heart monitor. After a few hours I got extremely nauseous and broke out in a cold sweat and about ten people came running in my room. They were rolling me down the hall and telling me I was having a heart attack. The did a cardiac cath and I did not have a heart attack.
I had stomach ulcers and pancreatitis.
But ever since then every two to three years I have something that feels like that episode but without the "elephant".
The pain though is primarily on the mid-right area that bores to the right back (shoulder and flank).
However, the docs (gastro) can never figure out what is causing it. After several weeks to months it gradually gets better.
I saw a new dr today because I am miserable. He ordered an ultrasound and lab work. He told me if it was that serious it would have killed me already. (That was comforting
Carol Krentzman on August 29, 2017:
So I have been having CP attacks over the past 6 months. Last week I starting having one and I decided to do the Elemental Formula (4 shakes per day 3 g per fat each) The first two days I got out of pancreas pain. Now it's the third day and I'm having bad pain. I also have Gallbladder Disease. I'm thinking that since I'm pretty much fasting that it's causing a stone to be lodged in my pancreatic duct. My chiropractor urged me to take 1 Tbl of olive oil with lemon to thin the bile. He said to heal the gallbladder is to heal the pancreas. I already took advil, vitamin c, turmeric and grapeseed root and no lessening of the pain. I want to try the olive oil. I don't get this. I"m in more pain after 3 days on the elemental diet than I was when I was eating fats.
CPope on June 12, 2017:
Thank you for this information. All of it. I e had acute pancreatitis for 6 years now. I've never heard of the anti inflammatory items like grape seed, etc. and seeing a comprehensive list of what to eat and no oil is extremely helpful. Thank you so much. I'm coming out of an attack right now and will use this advice and see how it goes.
cassie119300 on April 19, 2017:
My story may be a bit baffling.. but here it is. I believe between 2015-2016 is when I started having early symptoms. I was having acid reflux, I drank on the weekends. I was prescribed Rantidine for that. I would notice what felt like this little burning sensation going under my left rib bone. The burning sensation would literally even strike when i rubbed across the area with my hand, as it would feel itchy at times. I didn't think much of it though at the time, I would just not take my rantidine when I wanted to have a wine cooler or whatever. On March of 5th is when I believe I did the most damage. I was not eating great either, I was still going through a break up and I was eating a lot. I went out to the bar with my sister to celebrate one of their birthdays. I had a drink called the "death mix" plus numerous others. I drank for my sister since she was pregnant at the time. They couldn't believe I didn't puke that night even. Well, time went on and I don't know how many months I suffered with it, but that burning would present with what felt like a gas bubble stuck beneath my left rib bone. I started taking gas-x ultra strength, antacids, I would feel relief sometimes when I went to the bathroom.. which should have been another clue. I would continue to have wine coolers on the weekends though. Even when I went to the bathroom that should have been a signal, I had boughts of yellow diarrhea for quite some time. I had also been taking gemfibrozil as months before they found I had high cholesterol, heriditary from my mother. I was taking fish oil pills, gemfibrizol, and rantidine. This gas bubble like pain stuck under my rib continued, my bad eating continued, it got to the point where I'd felt like I ate a thanksgiving meal, and despite feeling "full" or nauseous.. I would eat bad, and would still have my drinks. I would also.. sleep a lot.It wasn't until one night between the months of March and May I was drinking and decided to take my temp. I just didn't feel right. It was 99.00, i noticed this over the course of a week. I believe I stopped drinking at this point thinking I had some sort of illness, especially with my episodes of diarrhea. I made a doctor's appointment. There was some pain when the doctor palpitated the area. She said she thought she felt " a mass". She wasn't my regular primary physician but whoever was in the office that day. She ordered me 2 weeks off from work, and to have a complete x ray done of my upper gi. I remember telling my co workers.. that I think I had an ulcer. It was a long two weeks, just wondering what could be so bad that I was out for two weeks for. I had the x-rays done, and everything came back good. I had a follow up with my regular doctor, and I told her I was still feeling the burning, and just not feeling right and she deduced it all down to anxiety as my father and grandmother have it. I was baffled but thought the doctor must be right. So I ignored it, thinking it would just go away. I even googled it, coming across things such as ulcers, gastritis, and pancreatitis. I remember going across the page for pancreatitus and thinking... oh god that sounds god awful, no way I have that. ( haha). Well my pain only got worse. On June 5th, I was on my way to work, I woke up feeling like utter crap, thinking I just wish I didn't have to work today. I got two hours into work, when I was sweating, couldn't concentrate, and was very nauseous. My entire side under that left rib bone hurt, and my lower back did as well. I kept thinking it was gas, or my period was going to begin. I would get that "sickening" back pain feeling before my period too. I believe somewhere between my doctor visits, a blood work appointment wasn't scheduled soon enough to check my cholesterol. The pain was so much that I was doing all I could just to stand. I looked at my one co worker and said " i really don't feel good at all" she just kinda looked at me and turned away. Exhausted, I called out to another supervisor, one i didn't particularly like, but I told her and she took care of it, I went home. I arrived home and couldn't even sit or stand.. nothing was helping the intense pain. We called the doctors office and I was instructed to take 2 ibuprofen, even after describing my symptoms, and to follow up in 2 days if it wasn't better. I used my instincts, and after taking the ibuprofen and the pain not relieving, I said " No, they are wrong, they should have never have told me to do that without seeing me first. My parents drove me to e.r on my urging. At this point I was beginning to dry heave. Once in the e.r room they took a urine sample, and took some blood, and ct scan. It took about an hour. I was puking and they gave me a "gi cocktail" to coat my stomach. I only threw that up too.The doctor came back to tell me, that my lipase/triglyceroid levels were through the roof. 11,000 and that I had acute pancreatitus. At this point my blood was practically turning to slush. I was admitted into the hospital for the first time ever. The pain was tremendous. Burning, acheing, stabbing, but even still to this day I can't even describe or remember clearly what the pain felt like. All I knew was that I had to wait every 2 hours for another shot of morphine, and once I got into the first hour I was whimpering. I also could not pee... for 3 hours so they had inserted a catheter. The next day I was transferred into the ICU. I would drink water, icy water.. and they had a feeding tube placed into my stomach ( I wasn't knocked out for this). I was given iv fluids, morphine every 2 hours, and heparin shots to prevent blood clots. I began to have trouble breathing. I also was not seeming to tolerate regular food, so i think they waited a few days and started the nutritional feeding, and were trying to give me ensure drinks. I literally looked over in fear when they placed the food bag on the rack. I would only feel better when they pumped the air and stuff out of my stomache, when they began the feeding, my stomache felt bloated x50, it hurt. They did another ct scan, and some chest x rays. I was developing pneumonia. At this point my sisters drove from 6 hours away, because I was getting worse. I was now diagnosed with severe acute pancreatitus and pneumonia. My body was swelling with fluid, I could barely walk or anything, I was in so much pain, from the fluid and the pancreas. Any time i got up I lost breath quickly. I was on oxygen. Now 4 days in not much improvement, my levels were better than what they were, but I was still getting worse. They believed I was developing a pseudo cyst on the tail of my pancreas. A week in, with much more labored breathing and throwing up, I was shipped off to another hospital. When I arrived and had another ct scan done, I was told I had Severe Acute Necrotizing Pancreatitis, with pneumonia,pulmonary embolism, and a pseudo cyst. I was given many medications. The tube was also taken out and reinserted to go past by stomach. The food going into my stomach previously was inflaming by pancreas. This way, my pancreas could rest. My breathing was horrible, labored. The last night in the other hospital, I was not being given anymore morphine. I slept a total of 2 hours. The percocet didn't touch the pain. I was happy to be back on morphine. It took another week, when a doctor came up with an idea to get my levels to where they needed to be. Insulin. I was on an insulin drip and had my finger pricked every 1-2 hours. My arm was bruised and swollen from the blood thinners, and the constant blood draws. I had pure hyperlipidemia/hypertriglycerdemia and high cholesterol. A heriditary condition where your body produces too much blood fats. Luckily for me, my necrotizing pancreatitus was not the infectious kind, it was sterile, my kidneys were starting to fail but perked up. My pseudocyst is now gone it was 5 cm. I survived, and was told by the doctor in the hospital i almost died, my sisters said my lips were even blue at one point. I was very lucky and am still traumatized to say the least. I saw my gi doctor in november and he said my pancreas was just about healed. I see him again next month.
karen luttrell on February 18, 2017:
Thank you so extremely much for all of the wonderful advice and stories that have been written here!☺it has given me alot of positive advice, thoughts, and questions for my specialists. I have been living with cp for 10 yrs now and have been told iIhave 10% left of alive pancreas organ left! What should I have happen now?
Almost died bit Healthy now on December 15, 2016:
1/3 of my pancreas died with a severe attack. I did drink some beer, not anymore. Mine was from high triglycerides, my sugar turned to fat which I can't absorb. I'm not diabetic, my family is though. I eat all low fat, only natural sugars in vegetables and 0 fat yogurt. Beef once every 5 days, all fat trimmed off and 4oz of meat of any kind. I get hungry sometimes and go over, pain the next day reminds me to get on track again. I take Natrol fruit and vegetable vitamins as I go to bed. 20mg of lasick a day, 2 liters of Evian or Gerber water a day along with vitamin zero water daily. I'm pretty healthy. Long natural nails now. Oh, Chardon may or Merlot Wine with supper. Wine, if it's dry, is an anti inflammatory. Acruelly helped minor attacks. No beer, if you have GERD. Trust me, and no more then 10 grams of fat at any given time, except for Salmon.
Lisa on December 14, 2016:
Hi, I was seeing stomach specialists as a child up until 7 as I was sick a lot. Then after my 18th birthday I began to get incredible pain that lasted a week at least yearly but often 2 or 3 times a year. I too got told I had heartburn, oesohagitus,IBS. At 29 I finally found out the truth. I am now 37 and life has been great for the last year until a bug hit me and caused it to reoccur. It hasn't shown in my bloods again, never has for some reason.
Prior to this I had a pancreatic cancer scare 2 years ago but have been pretty much pain free and putting on weight.
My brother has it and will not change his life style, you would think seeing me with CP would encourage this but there is little I can do. He has so far only had acute episodes and is 40.
I'm scared, i'm depressed but reading this gives me some hope. It's an isolating illness where I feel I am better single as I would feel a burden on anyone. (Plus my last boyfriend was a narcissist that I believe caused the gross changes whilst I with him. )I do feel a burden on my friends and family already. Often feel forgotten by friends as they carry on life as normal.
The judgement has been hard, but I have got use to that over the years.
I am going to try a red meat free diet and buy some supplements after reading this, thank you.
brianne on November 30, 2016:
I'm only 23 years old, i have been to emergency rooms, doctors and specialists and only now after 4 years have i finally got the diagnoses. I have always been looked over because of my age, they always dismissed me and said "its just bad heartburn". I have been s frustrated, iv always wanted an answer. Although it was relieving to know, its a serious condition i wish i never heard of. I am so happy I came across you article.
Janet on November 29, 2016:
It took 8-1/2 months, multiple ER visits, dozens of tests, and 8 different doctors to finally listen to me and diagnose pancreatitis. By then it had gone from acute to chronic. I will now be stuck with it for the rest of my life. I'm still angry that so many doctors refused to listen to me. I'm a smart woman with a technical background and had done a LOT of my own research. I was pretty convinced, just based on geographic location and symptoms, that it was pancreatitis. I mentioned this to every doctor. None would listen. One even rolled his eyes at me (I filed a complaint on him).
I appreciate your article. My pancreatitis specialist recommended turmeric. I haven't tried vitamin C. I'll add that to the regimen. One thing that has helped me is getting a celiac block a couple of times a year. Dr. Patel uses a (for lack of a better description) side-scanning sonar he invented, attached to an endoscope, to examine my pancreas, drain the cyst, and inject time-release pain blocker medicine directly into my pancreas. It helps tremendously with the pain.
I'm crossing my fingers that someday they find a cure. In the meantime, I live with acute attacks multiple times a week. Thankfully, each attack duration is less than an hour, but they almost always hit in the middle of the night. So in addition to the frequent pain, I tend to always be sleep deprived.
It's good to find kindred souls.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on September 30, 2016:
hey, whatever works :-)
PaulaP912 on August 23, 2016:
My journey with acute and then chronic pancreatitis is like many others. My two tools to recovery were -
Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment - YES it worked
Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous - Simple but not easy. Totally worth it to gain a healthy eating lifestyle with support from others.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 05, 2015:
You are most welcome for the info. IF you are on prescription meds make sure you talk with your doc and/or pharmacist to find out if grapefruit or grapefruit juice is safe for you. Some medications react in a potential lethal manner with grapefruit so this is extremely important. Good luck to you in your recovery. I hope you never have another attack.
trilobite55 on October 04, 2015:
Thanks for the incredibly helpful blog!! My journey with pancreatitis has been short and blessedly mild to now. I've had 3-4 bouts starting this year, and, painful, but I have a high pain tolerance, or they were mild, so none has sent me to the ER. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis on the 2nd try by my PCP, second blessing, and the pain ended in a matter of 24 hours each time, as soon as I cut out fat, alcohol and most sugar. My last bout was yesterday, which drove me back to the computer to see what was "safe" to eat. I already take 400mg ibuprofen for arthritis, so I added another 400 and it has worked. I was on the phone to the Doctor's office yesterday, but hung up when I realized my health insurance doesn't kick in until November. The PCP said we would wait to see if it resolved itself, and if I had another episode she would order tests. I guess I'll begin tests in November, then, but am going to try to see how far diet and supplements take me. I already take Curcumin for the arthritis, so am adding the grape seed and am going to try the grapefruit juice--or rather, I'm going to try to eat 1/2 grapefruit a day. I know it can interfere with certain meds, so my plan is to eat it before or with dinner, as I take the meds in the AM.
Also, referencing the comment above, Tylenol is deadly!! I haven't used it in years!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on May 12, 2015:
Hi greenrazor, sorry to hear you aren't feeling well. Ibuprofen work much better than tylenol and won't destroy your liver. Do you know why you are having AP attacks? Did anyone find a cause? You are probably still healing and if your diet is right you could be simply irritaing your pancreas with bad foods. By the way you can find a lot more info at my blog beatingpancreatitis.com and I check it more often for comments and questions
greenrazor on May 12, 2015:
was in hospital 4-7-15 thru 4-19-15 for acute panky.icu for 8 days.panky infection,belly,legs and feet swole up.they shoved a tube down my nose [ oww !],catheter[M'fer] main lined my neck,morphine for 10 of those days,couldnt even get out of bed two of the days,paranoid and seeing things because of the morphine.i had an acute attack in 2002 simular but a little less severe.i was in hospital 5 days and seemed like i was back working [ diesel mechanic ] within a week now im 45 Y.O. male been back to work since 4-26-15 but am still somewhat weak,diarrhea and my side's at the bottom of my rib cage hurt especially my left side.tylanol dulls it and hydrac knocks it out for 2 to 3 hours but it comes back.sometime's pretty fierce and others almost no pain but always noticeable.G.I. hospital attending Doc at follow up last week didnt seemed concerned and my regular doc last friday didnt seemed concerned so ? do you think my panky is just still healing causing it or?i cant find any info about what happens after acute panky except your page and i like it.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on May 10, 2015:
Hi Diego sorry to hear you are not feeling well. It's amazing that you have lived 63 years with a birth defect (pancreas divisum) and have not had a problem until now. Does anyone know why the PD caused AP at this late date yet went for all those years without a problem? Maybe your specialist will be able to shed some light on the subject. It is normal to be lost, depressed and worried. However, you can do research and learn about pancreas divisum and what your options are in regards to treatment. I believe in many cases they can surgically fix pancreas divisum, usually by stenting if my memory serves me correctly. However, that does involve some risk. Like I said maybe your specialist can shed light on your situation. It may not be all that bad unless you sustained a lot of damage via your AP attack.
Diego on May 08, 2015:
I recently spent 6 days in the hospital with AP. I am 63 and and do not consume much alcohol. I am fit and run 5 miles every other day.
This was my first attack ever and am nervous for my long term health and longevity. Initial cause of my attack was pancreas divisum.
I'm lost, depressed and worried about dying. I have been out of the hospital about a week and have not yet had a follow-up with the specialist.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on April 23, 2015:
Katrina you'll soon know if the enzymes are an important item. IF he strictly adheres to a pancreatitis friendly low fat diet and still is having symptoms (bloating, nausea) after eating he probably needs them. Otherwise, if he improves he may be fine without them now.
Katrina on April 19, 2015:
Does it have a bad affect if he doesn't take the enzymes?
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on April 18, 2015:
You're welcome Katrina. Hope he begins to feel better. You can find more info on my blog.
Katrina on April 18, 2015:
Hi!! My boyfriend has had chronic pancreatitis for 7 years now but refuses to take enzymes to help him digest the food, he is now getting numbness in his legs but when he changes his position he's okay again so I'm not sure if he's got a trapped nerve or if it's related to his pancreas. Just like everyone else he is in pain daily as he is eating fatty foods everyday and hasn't got a stable diet, however after reading this blog I will defiantly be changing his diet and making sure it's low fat and he's taking the grape seed and curcuming capsules but I can't get him to take the enzymes. God bless you and Thank you for taking your time out to help others and raising people's hopes as doctors just say people with the disease have very limited time to live.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on April 08, 2015:
I'm not a doctor and can't give medical advice but if it were my uncle or dad I'd go to the store (sears, etc) and buy a black and decker juicer for about $30. I'd go to a health/vitamin store and buy pure grape seed extract, pure curcumin, pure vitamin C (pure with no other compounds that could be toxic) and colloidal silver (kills bacteria and viruses). Make sure you get capsules (grape seed, curcumin and C) that you can open and empty out. Then to a grocery store to buy organic tomatoes, cucumber, celery, spinach, watercress, carrots, onion and garlic. Use the juicer to make about one quart of fresh, organic vegetable juice and put it into a container (mason jar or even a plastic bottle you have cleaned thoroughly). Then I'd put in the fresh juice about 30 dropper fulls of colloidal silver, 1000 mgs of grape seed extract, 1500 mgs of curcumin and 3000 mgs of vit C and shake it until it is nicely mixed. Then I'd give my uncle/dad a small amount maybe an ounce to see how he tolerated it. If it stays down I'd give it to him every 30 minutes. IF he doesn't tolerate an ounce every 30 minutes I'd back off and try again in an hour or so with another ounce and then an ounce every hour to see how that worked. The stuff has to stay down in order to work. I'd also remove and ban ANY food by mouth except the organic vegetable juice with the supplements. I'd also ask his physcian to give him the equivalent of 800 mgs of ORAL Ibuprofen via IV. The IV amount may be different. ONLY Ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory drug) not some mix of something. IF they won't do that, for some reason, I'd ask why. If I heard some weird excuse like it isn't protocol, not approved or won't do any good then while I was at the store I'd buy Ibuprofen. Advil is Ibuprofen. Just make sure it is Ibuprofen and nothing else. It usually comes in 200 mgs tablets. IF you can find capsules that would even be better! Then you could mix it into his juice as well. By the way that juice will most likely taste AWFUL with those supplements and Ibuprofen mixed in but I'm thinking it will help and may be tolerated ok. That is what I'd do IF it were me and my relative. I'd also pray, a lot. God works some awesome miracles!
Waqas on April 06, 2015:
I dont even know if you still view this page author but I needed some info. My uncle had an acute necrotising pancreatitis and went on a ventilator. He remained on the vent for 14 days in ICU before he was operated (major surgery). His pancreas were severely inflammed and he too much infection in his body as the WBC count was always rising. He has been in the hospital for almost 3 months now and have gone through 1 major surgery and 3-4 ERCP. He has 2 permanent drains in his abdominal area to suck out the infection and they ocasionally add a 3rd one as well depending upon the infection. The doctor has tried several anti biotics and surgeries but the infection doesnt go away. He has fever every now and then and getting weaker every day. We r absolutely clueless about doctor's approach and what will happen and any help would be greatly appreciated.
P.S he cant eat or drink himself and is fed by drips etc. He tries light intake of food but either vomits or cannot digest. At this moment he can consume liquid food only.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on March 18, 2015:
IF the blood was bright or dark red and coming from the anus it was most likely due to the attack and your gastro should be advised. I have no knowledge of pancreatitis causing urinary problems. Bowel problems yes, urinary no. I was simply talking about stenting, not TP/AIT. I have doubts about the long-term out come for most patients who undergo TP/AIT. I can NOT find any good reviews that are over 5 years old. It sounds like you have a pretty good gastro. Don't hold the diet and alcohol thing against him/her. I haven't met a doctor yet who is knowledgable about diet when it concerns a danaged pancreas. Many seem to think alcohol is even ok as long as you are not an alcoholic or do not have the genetic variant that increases the risk of alcoholic pancreatitis. Good luck HL I hope you find healing :-)
H L on March 15, 2015:
Thank you for your response. Regarding the bleeding, no I did not; I am female and therefore wasn't certain exactly why that was happening (although it was definitely not at the right time for the usual reason, so I believe it was due to the attack).
My second question was: are you aware of this having an effect on using the bathroom at all? Two years ago that was where the symptoms started and sent me on a wild goose chase (UTI, most doctors just blindly believed, although it wasn't, and various other ideas relating to that). It was expensive and scary, as I had my very worst attack in the first year, and no one seemed to know why.
Thanks very much for your responses. I will find out what people that had the surgery for pancreas divisum think. I am not sure I want to do the surgery, as after that you can't really get it back.
I still have a fairly positive view of the gastro. After 2 years and a correct diagnosis I will forgive him just about anything. However, I'm not happy that I've been playing Russian roulette *without knowing it* ever since.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on March 15, 2015:
H L I'm sorry you are having a rough time. Did you go to the ER when you started bleeding? If not, you should have. You were obviously bleeding due to the attack. The pancreas can actually hemorrhage, most likely due to the enzymes eating away at blood vessel tissue or cells rupturing due to inflammation. Anyway bleeding is something that should never be taken lightly.
I don't know why docotrs don't tell people that diet and alcohol should be adjusted (diet) and alcohol totally restricted. It is dangerous. A far as I am concerned if someone wants to remain ill most doctors (not all) will be glad to help because they make ZERO money from well people. And because they have that sheep skin that says they are an M.D. and a license to "practice" medicine that they are pretty much omnipotent. Unfortunately when it comes to pancreatitis most are severely lacking in competency.
I hope I answered both your questions if not tell me where I missed the boat and I'll regroup. Remember I'm NOT a doctor. I'm only an opinionated quack so make sure you do your own research and do what seems to make the most sense to you. IF I were you I'd join some support groups not for advice on diet etc becuase most of those folks in support groups are sick and don't actually know what a good diet for pancreatitis is anyway. They follow their docs advice but what I'd want to know and what I'd try to find out IF I were you (pancreas divisum) is I'd try to find others with the defect and ask what they have had done to correct it, if it worked, for how long, about complications they may have personally experienced and whether they would do it again (this last questions answer really tells the story). Of course you're looking for someone who has had the stenting done to see what their actual results were. I'd do that asap so you have a good idea what to expect should you decide to go ahead. Good luck!
H L on March 14, 2015:
I came across this page after a recent attack in which the pain under my ribs for the last 2 years was so intense I couldn't believe it. I even started bleeding for no reason I know of, and this was after a night of drinking.
Here's the thing. I've been seen everywhere for this mysterious problem. Recently, no less than TWO doctors diagnosed me with pancreatitis, but in a very offhand 'oh well you've got this but we'll keep looking' way. Not a word about diet or alcohol or any of the things I started discovering when I finally started to look that up.
The second doctor, a gastroenterologist, I can at least say was good enough to put me through a lot of tests and found out that I have pancreatic divisum as well as cholecystitis. He told me I would need surgery to have a stent put in to fix the divisum and that I would need my gall bladder removed. However, he said it was not a big deal or an emergency, that he'd had patients come to him after 10 years with it and they were fine after the surgery. He said to get it done within 6 months or I would have chronic pancreatitis and there was nothing he could do.
However, the first doctor also said I had 'recurrent pancreatitis' and the gastro sent me a letter referring to 'pancreatic attacks' as well. Neither doctor said a word about alcohol or diet, although the gastro asked about my drinking habits. In fact, the night before one of the tests, I asked if it was okay if I drank. He said it was.
I seem to be discovering that pancreatitis - regardless of how you got it, in my case the birth defect - responds to alcohol the same way, that is, *don't drink it!* Also, that diet is very important.
Now that I had that severe attack and the bleeding seems to have stopped (5 days later), I am exhausted, have quit drinking, and am changing my diet. The last two days were the first time in the last two years that I didn't wake up with horrible pain under my rib.
That said, I have two questions. One is why the doctors didn't tell me about these dietary restrictions? It seems so dangerous for them to not have done so.
Secondly, whether any of the other organs are effected; using the bathroom for example, as these were the first symptoms I ever noticed and spent a good long time with doctors trying to figure out what was wrong in that area (nothing at all, as it turns out, and yet the symptoms remain). Are you aware of any reason for this that would be associated with pancreatitis, and whether the dietary change might eliminate the symptoms for good?
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on February 06, 2015:
Hi Shawn - yup sounds to me from all the research I've done (I'm NOT a doctor) that you may definitely suffer fom SOD and possibly gallstones or at least sludge. In that event you should NOT use turmeric or curcumin. Either one increases bile flow like you mentioned and that could become a serious issue. If your Sphincter of Oddi spasm due to the use of curcumin or turmeric that increased bile flow could cause acute pancreatitis. If you have had a diagnosis of CP it is even more important to avoid any more pancreas damage.
Instead of curcumin, I'd use grape seed extract in combination with vitamin C and grapefruit seed extract. Appropriate doses of those 3 supplements should help you find the resolution. Now Foods Grape Seed extract in 100 mg v caps comes with 300 mgs of C in each cap. You get a "twofor" with that product and I use it myself. I'd do at least 200 mgs of grape seed 3 - 4 times a day and the grapefruit seed extract ( ONE tab) 2 times per day. Both the grape seed extract and C will help resolve inflammation and the grapefruit seed extract was proven in one study to protect the pancreas against acute pancreatitis.
NOTE: IF you are on prescription medication check with your doc to find out if there is any reason you can NOT use/eat grapefruit BEFORE taking it. Some prescription meds DO NOT work with grapefruit and can actually be lethal.
Shawn on January 13, 2015:
Ok early 2014, I began experiencing gallbladder pain and while I cannot prove I passed a small stone or stones, I know something had taken place which caused me great pain and at my age I am pretty in tune with my body. Fast forward past all the Ultra sounds the CTs the MRCPs and no one could find anything wrong, however my pain I had experienced change! I no longer had pain but now was experiencing hot burning sensations below the area of my original pain. I would explain to my primary and GI doc that I could feel my gallbladder swell and contract and would get sharp pinching pains that moved, so since the docs did nothing I began to do a liver detox and gallbladder flush, soon after I began to feel great for exactly 5 months. In this time I also began taking a joint supplement with high levels of Glucosamine which in research causes the death of pancreatic cells. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101027111349.htm. The formula in which I was taking also had Tumeric. I am going longer but bare with me. Now remember I had been symptom free for 5 month and then had one of the worst cramping pains followed by the most sever burning pain I had experienced. I believe my gallbladder was once more filled with slug and had released it and the increased Tumeric while it is good had increased the bill flow and having either passed a stone and possibly having scared the Sphincerter, my belief is I created the perfect storm. A live that was not healthy and a gallbladder that still retained slug and a sphincter that may have been scared and even more a pancreas that had already endured some scaring from the original on set of this nightmare. Now had a EUS on the 18th and was given the CP DX and had still been taking Tumeric on its own but had switched to the curcumin and had the worst reaction of swelling and burning I had every experianced after the 3rd day I was ready to check myself in, But I took the Advil and supplements minus the curcumin and all stopped. I believe I either have an SOD issue and I also know the EUS played it's role. But to be safe I am going to avoid the curcumin for now but having read all the good on it I want it as one of my supplements and will try it again after I feel I have healed enough. Sorry ran long!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on January 12, 2015:
Hi Shawn, Semper Fi! You are welcome. Sorry to hear you have joined the pancreatitis hall of pain. I know it sucks but it can get better. I understand correctly you are doing better?
Fruits are great just not over ripe. Bananas seem to turn to alcohol quicker than others so when they have more than a couple spots on the peels it is time to avoid them.
I gotta ask - do you have gallstones or SOD? If so I understand totally. If not what did curcumin do that was unpleasant? How much did you take to create the unwanted symptoms? Just curious. Some folks just don't do well with curcumin cuz it irritates their stomach, especially at higher doses.
Keep up the progress in healing. I hope you feel better soon.
shawn on January 09, 2015:
Dec 18th inducted into the CP hall of fame. by the grace of GOD I found your various blogs and have digested them daily. Fasted for 3 days should have gone longer. Started out on Vegie broth that HealthyGuy provided thank you since I was clueless as to where to start. Am know up to Vegie juice, grapefruit juice, Vegie soup with lentil now...Yaaaa! after not being able to eat and feeling like death I never knew how good food could taste. I would definitely like to see something on fruit as you mentioned in one of your replies to another viewer. I have always loved my fruit and being that I am ignorant to the fruit alcohol aspect feel victim to it when I introduced it to the diet..what he'll that was. And no I am not saying avoid fruit just be aware of the age. fruit its good and healthy except the ones mentioned in the blogs. I do take the supplements daily so everyone take them. I am still taking them 4 times a day and the fruit anti. Cannot take the curcumin found out the hard way, however I will try it again in 6mnths test the waters. thank you HealthyGuy for time, your wealth of knowledge and your willingness to share it. Thanks Avid reader. Semper Fi!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 31, 2014:
Hi Dlim83 - sorry I missed this comment and it has taken so long to respond. ERCP is kinda dangerous. It causes post procedure AP (acute pancreatitis) much to often. I, personally, probably wouldn't have that procedure done unless a doc could prove to me that it is the only way of saving my life. My personal opinion, and this IS only an opinion, a very uneducated opinion, is that anytime a doctor invasively tests or looks at a pancreas they usually do more harm than good. One little mistake, one scar etc can create a lifetime of hellish problems so, unless an invasively, surgical procedure is actually necessary to save my life it isn't gonna happen, BUT, that's me and my thoughts. I am NOT always right. You need to look at the research available, ask your doc exactly why he wants to do it, if the procedure isn't done are you going to die and if you were his child would he still do it? I'd also ask people who have had ERCP done, stents placed etc whether the procedure was worth it and if they'd do it again.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 31, 2014:
I have to admit I really Like your thoughts regarding most doctors (laughing my ass off) and have had similar visions myself! Here's what I'd suggest - do searchs on the net for scholar type papers regarding conditions/diseases that raise amylase levels. I have to admit the docs may be right but they may also be wrong. Lipase most always rises with ACUTE pancreatitis. It does take about 4 hours of agony for both lipase and amylase to rise. With CP sometimes lipase and amylase levels are increased and sometimes they are normal. If the pancreas is damaged enough it may not be producing enzymes any longer and so enzymes don't rise even in those who are acutely ill. You'd know if that were the case cuz you'd be almost dead (guessing), at the very least, very ill. Anyway ...
Keep the faith, keep looking for a doc who will actually LOOK for answers. Good luck to you.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 31, 2014:
Hi Joyce! Of course I remember you. Sorry to hear your daughter is having difficulty. Now remember I am NOT a dodctor and quite honestly have not researched pregnancy and grape seed extract/curcumin that much but ...
OB's give their pregnant patients pre-natal vitamins. I would conclude that normal, every day vitamins are fine. I have "skimmed" a couple med sites on grape seed during pregnancy and none recommend it but that is mainly because they don't know anything about it. I'm sure if grape seed extract (comes from grapes) were a horrible thing that grapes themselves, their juice etc would be taken off a pregnant woman's food list but that doesn't seem to be the case.
I didn't check curcumin. I'd suggest investing an hour or two researching that particular subject. I should do so as well and write a blog post about what I find.
mangodashindia on December 24, 2014:
Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
BrokenPancreasMan on December 09, 2014:
I am so glad I found this page. I have been have issues for over a year now. I don't know what the problem is because all doctors I have seen haven't a clue what is going on.
After much persistence on my wife's part I had Lipase and Amylase checked. Lipase was normal but Amylase was 7 times normal and more recently 10 times normal. Wife insisted on amylase electrophoresis which showed it was pancreatic and elastase which was normal. My levels have been monitored for 3 months now and amylase is always 7 to 10 times normal and lipase is normal. The docs won't diagnose CP because they say normal lipase and elastase rule that out especially since amylase is so high. Is this correct? Surely they are wrong.
I have not had acute attacks. It seems to have been progressive. My issues started with reflux issues which I have now pinpointed to bile reflux. I get on and off mild pain in my upper left back. The weird thing is I can't think of any trigger. I don't drink alcohol. I had been on a low fat diet for 3+ years. No trauma to abdomen. I don't even know if what I have is pancreatitis but I highly suspect it is because there is no much else. CT and MRCP were normal. Docs are stumped and say I am too young to have anything serious (I'm 29).
I feel your frustration with Docs. When sitting in there rooms listening to their BS I spend the time day dreaming about various ways I'd like to kill them. I've come up with some pretty gory scenarios. It's quite therapeutic.
Joyce Broyles on November 18, 2014:
Hello there..I have not sent you a message in awhile. I did have your email address but somehow lost it. I am the one that sent you the info on Dr. Whitcomb's video. My daughter is the one with pancreatic . She tried all you suggested and has been better and certainly has not had relapse just still pain and nausea. I wanted to ask you about pregnancy and still taking all the supplements. Of course when we ask her doctors they have no idea what we are even talking about. She just found out and now is 8 weeks, for the first time though her enzymes came back elevated which is worrisome. And of course she is having more pain. I do not know if hormones have anything to do with the pancrease but I do know they effect alot more than anyone knows.She did not intend on getting pregnant untill she felt better and felt it was safe but God had different plans I suppose. This is her first and she is 33. She has back off of some of the supplements and was wondering if that could be why her enzymes went up or just hormonal? I know this maybe out of normal request but if you are your followers have any input it would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again for all you do and your time.
Dlim83 on October 12, 2014:
Hi i was diagnosed with pancreatitis when i was 13. Had a few relapses but it somehow went away until recently, 17 yrs later i had another attack and a few relapses till present. so 5 months and 3 relapses later, i went for an MRI and was diagnosed with pancreatic duct stones due to the several attacks in the past 5 mths. The doctor recommended ercp with possible stent placement if neccesary, but considering the amount of bad feedbacks on the procedure, do u think i should do it? Is there any other option that you know which might remove the stones or at least make it not grow bigger? I'd been following your diet program (vegan & oil free) for a month now and had been consuming grapeseed extract, curcumin, and vit c on a daily basis. Doctor had also prescribed creon to eat with my meals. I notice that a 40min treadmill actually help to remove the pain permanently for the day during relapses (at least till the next day), i don't know if anybody else is experiencing the same experience. Please give me some advice on whether i should do the ercp and if there's other options? Appreciate your help and support. Am so glad i found this blog!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on July 18, 2014:
@ehealthcity: I seem to be missing a lot of comments. I apologize. I can't give medical advice but if it were my kid I'd do exactly what I did for myself (diet, supplements, Ibuprofen) with changes in dosing for Ibuprofen to fit body weight.
pgamble on June 09, 2014:
@lucaspro: hello Lucaspro,
just reading your post and i hope you don't mind me responding to what you stated in your post. First of all i dont have pancreatitis, but my brother does, he has been dealing with this illness for over three years now and he stays in and out of the hospital due to so much pain that pancreatitis causes. However,he is dealing with chronic pancreatitis and it is far worst than acute. I noticed that you said your girlfriend consumes alcohol which is not good at all, as of now alcohol is her biggest enemy. My brother has never drinked but still ended up getting this horriable disease that keeps him hurting every single day. I hope that your girlfriend will take this disease serious and give up alcohol. I also pray that God will heal her pancreas. Take Care!!
ehealthcity on June 09, 2014:
Is there anybody who will answer on this: How to reduce pancreatitis in children? Advance thanks.
lucaspro on June 06, 2014:
My girlfriend is 21 years old and she has had Pancreatitis on four separate occasions. I feel as if i can't get any answers anywhere about what caused this and i am really concerned with her health. I've read that prescription pills, alcohol or bad diet (basically nobody knows) can have a negative effect on the pancreas. She is sort of a heavy drinker, i mean we're young, we like to party, but i don't understand why it's effecting her like that. She doesn't drink anymore than the average 21 year old and it's not an everyday thing. I feel like the doctors are stating it is alcohol induced because they really have no clue and all they know about her is that she has a couple of nights a week that she likes to drink. Since her last spout with it(about 2 months ago) we have not been drinking, but she has been taking prescription pills quite often (oxycodone, hydrocodone). She seems fine as of now, but we also did this the last time she had Pancreatitis. I mean we did end up drinking again, but we were careful as to not overdo it. What worries me is that the prescription pill intake has not slowed down (hydrocodone, oxycodone) and now she is considering a prescription for ADHD medication. What effect could the prescription pills have on her pancreas? Will she have to stop drinking forever? Will her pancreas ever fully recover to were we need not worry ourselves?
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on May 30, 2014:
@MeirSprecher: I'm sorry but I have no idea how to get a prescription drug SAFELY without a doctor's approval (written prescription). There are dubious online sellers of that sort of thing but that isn't a safe way to get what you want. Good luck to you in your search and I hope your wife heals up and is able to stay well.
MeirSprecher on May 29, 2014:
How are you, Mr "ThehealthGuy"
I write to you in the name of my wife who has many "diseases". She is semiblind, has coeliakie and now also pancreatitis. I wrote to you sometimes (2, 3x) and you always answered quite quick. My thanks and appriciation for that.
My wife had a very strong attack three weeks ago, including 4 days on intensive care, due to a starting of general organ breakdown. God be praised, she survived and is now again at home prepairing dinner for shabat (we live in Israel and are jewish)
But the question is: We cannot order Viokase here in Israel or in Europe. The doctor said it would be good to try Viokase instead of Creon (the European drug) This as the ratio of the three enzymes in those two drugs are quit different and maybe the viokase ratio would be better for the particular enzyme housekeeping of her body. Maybe you would know how to get Viokase. Her docter is quit willing to proveide all nececary papers with the pharmacy.
Thanks again for your help and health to all readers and writers on this blog.
Meir A. Sprecher and Chana N. Sprecher-Afriat
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on March 22, 2014:
@antago1: Wow sorry I missed your comment! Unfortunately I can't diagnose conditions because I do not have an M.D. so doing so would be illegal. Ultra sound is good for checking for gallstones but isn't the best for viewing the pancreas. The CT is pretty much the deal. EUS and MRI are good. MRI is in some ways better for looking at soft tissue that CT but the CT is the best diagnostic tool along with enzyme levels.
IF it were me I'd find a good gastroenterologist and have a chat. See if someone could actually pinpoint my problem, draw a conclusion and formulate a proper treatment plan.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on March 22, 2014:
@tina-desjardins-39: Hi Tina - I'm sorry you have pancreatitis and that it has taken me so long to see this comment and answer. It's true that the body needs some fat in the diet. Unfortunately with those of us who have pancreatitis we have to choose between what may happen someday versus what is actually happening now. I don't know how else to say this so I just be my normal blunt self ...
Acute pancreatitis can kill you. Chronic pancreatitis can make you wish you were dead. So one has to choose between two evils and decide which one is best to avoid. Since I learned my next meal could be the one that ends my life (no drama, pure fact) I have chosen to address acute and chronic pancreatitis versus whatever could happen later due to an extremely low fat diet.
I quote you: "I have never had an acute attack but my attacks were more mild, pain in top of abdomen wrapping around to the back." Trust me Tina you don't want an acute pancreatitis attack. The pain in most cases, whether severe or mild acute, is extreme. I just had a guy comment on my blog saying he has been shot (gun shot) and would prefer being shot to having another acute attack. I've had women say they have had several kids and would much prefer labor and birth versus another acute pancreatitis attack.
Plus severe acute causes necrosis, dead and or dying pancreas tissue. If the necrosis becomes infected that could lead to surgical removal of the dead, infected pancreas issue and then the whole situation changes because of the tremendous damage that may or may not ever heal properly. Severe acute pancreatitis opens the door to complications such as acities, psuedocysts, organ failure and internal bleeding. And ...
The mortality rate can be as high as 30%.
Again, I have chatted with to many people who have suffered this fate and lived. Most live with extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, some with diabetes and more. Some have a pancreas so calcified it's basically bone.
Chronic pancreatitis if not checked (put into remission) can lead to a horrible daily existence and death. So again, I made the choice to do everything I could to check chronic pancreatitis, put it in "remission" so to speak by avoiding almost everything that could possible promote it further because here's the scary part ...
The pain of chronic pancreatitis can become much more than twinges or sharp pains that last minutes and go. The pain can become just like acute pancreatitis pain and be intractable, constant. Imagine pain so bad that it breaks through the most powerful narcotics and is CONSTANT and have to live with that day in and day out.
I'm NOT trying to scare you or anyone else. I'm just pointing out that someone with chronic pancreatitis who does NOT do what is necessary to put it in remission, resolve the inflammation could end up exactly like I just portrayed. And sometimes it doesn't take long to escalate. You may be in deep kimchee if you have an acute attack.
I know one woman who has lived with a bad case of unresolved chronic pancreatitis now for 19 years! She wakes up in pain, with nausea and vomits (normal morning routine). Sometimes the pain is so bad it brings her to her knees. She is one strong woman and very rarely misses a day of work but damn! That is one lousy way to have to live. So ...
The jist of my answer is what do you want to do? Worry about your brain (memory), diabetes (which chronic pancreatitis can definitely cause), osteoporosis or pancreatitis?
If you have any more questions visit my blog at beatingpancreatitis.com and leave a comment. I see those a lot faster. Good luck Tina and I wish you better days :-)
tina-desjardins-39 on February 04, 2014:
I was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis recently. I'm a 53 year old female. I have never had an acute attack but my attacks were more mild, pain in top of abdomen wrapping around to the back. I was never an alcoholic.doctor are not sure why in have this disease but i do have mild scarring on my pancreas. I want in much pain when I first started seeing my GI doctor. I now have intermittent upper back pain under bra strap and get a filleting sharper pain in front upper abdomen that goes as fast as it comes. These pains are mild but daily.
I've read your post and been on a strict low fat diet with chicken and turkey and salmon.ive been on this diet since November 2013.i take creon and also the supplements you suggested except for the cumcirin because I just had ulcers before and it may be tough on my stomache. Now I'm thinking I should just go vegan till there's no pain unless it's too late for me for 6 months.
Here is my concern I have read that your brain needs fat to stay healthy and your organs as well. I have osteopenia but i know this disease can lead to osteoporosis .So I was taking a vitamin D capsule and a capsule of primrose oil if I stop the fat meaning zero fat and I'm small already could you end up being malnourished or can a person truly get by and stay healthy on very little oil?
Secondly if I give up meat how much grams of carbohydrates should I have in a meal because I definitely do not want to become a diabetic?
I feel this disease can make a person feel very alone! Your basically told you have here's some enzymes and good bye. When you really want to have some control to be able to help yourself and there's so many ppl out there who are alternative and will say oh sure they can help but they all have such different approaches who knows what to do. It's hard to know who to trust.
If you could please address those 2 questions especially the one about fat I would be grateful since I really want to commit to this and try to stop the inflammation.
And any other information would be helpful as well .
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 19, 2013:
@Styxman: Oil is oil. Even if it's GOOD oil it is still oil/fat.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 19, 2013:
@freddybear: Hi Freddybear - yeah I have heard of that, in fact mine started that way. If you read my story you'll see where after I was hurt playing ball I suffered from nausea and heart burn. Pain came on several years later. Not real common but it does happen.
JennZZ5508 on December 13, 2013:
@freddybear: Freddy. Would love to hear your story. I haven't been diagnosed but know I have recurrent AP or CP. But moderate pain with no vomiting. Would love to hear what took you to a doctor and what scans or tests he did to determine your diagnosis.
Styxman on December 07, 2013:
Where do flax oil and omega III fit into restrictions on oil?
freddybear on December 03, 2013:
I was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis in July. Everything I have been researching talks about the pain.I have some nausea but no pain, have you ever heard of pancreatitis without any pain?
antago1 on November 25, 2013:
I came to this page last night and now I can't leave! Such a blessing!
Hey, my name is Tag. I've just turned 29 and I'm a recovering alcoholic. I've been socially drinking since 18, but I've turned to binge drinking for the last few years. This past summer, I've been experiencing some left-side sharp/burning back pain. Feels like something is moving around and pushing nerves around in there. I'm beginning to feel it in the middle of my abdomen and back as well. My indigestion is getting really bad (whenever I do eat) and I have little to no appetite, nausea (no vomit), and low energy. Since my first episode, I've been to the ER over 10 times for back and abdominal discomfort/pain, within the last couple months (sometimes twice in one day).
A couple weeks ago, my PCP diagnosed me with Vitamin D defiency and told me that my lipase was normal and my amylase was a little raised (which it had been since my hospital visit, over 7 yrs ago. Normal < 40-140 and mines < 141-147, up and down). I began feeling a little better after my prescription of 50,000IU Vitamin D2 was filled, hoping for change! And I did get a little better! My girl thought that it would be a good idea to grab some wine (bad idea), in celebration of me not getting a 'Diagnosis of Death', since I'm a hypochondriac. (Shaking my head). This was the worst idea, as I decided to drink a glass of red wine three nights in a row! Third day, I started feeling sick again! And here I am now!
So...my most recent ER results were: Normal Lipase, Normal Amylase, with all pancreas and liver function tests < NORMAL! In addition, they did two abdominal ultrasound tests, which showed nothing wrong with my liver nor pancreas! I demanded a CT scan, but the nurse felt that it wasn't necessary. She dismissively said that she'd speak to the head doctor, but to no avail. Five minutes later, she had an assistant attempt to issue me 'discharge' papers. I quickly rejected them and told the assistant that I'm still in PAIN, and to tell the nurse that! The "nurse" soon avoided me for the rest of my time in the ER, until I decided to leave (being that I was technically discharged).
One day later....Here I am, in bed with no energy and I'm afraid to eat anything. I have a juicer that I use daily and I've been juicing and eating raw veggies for two months now. I'm concerned to have a chronic disease that may change my life drastically (for the worst)! Obviously I cannot be diagnosed over the Internet, but do you know what kind of condition that I may have?
Thanks in advance,
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 09, 2013:
@MeirSprecher: Hi MeirSprecher, I am glad your wife is finding relief! I too am a Celiac and from my research I can tell you that Celiac Disease IS linked to pancreatitis. There are quite a number of autoimmune diseases linked to pancreatitis, (Sjorgren's Syndrome, RA, Lupus, CD and more). I use NOW Foods Grape Seed Extract because it is gluten free but it also contains vit C and is a good value. Jarrows is gluten free as well and I use their curcumin. Remember the diet! It is BOTH diet and supplements that create the real healing. Good luck to you and your wife :-)
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 09, 2013:
@anonymous: Hi Charvi, since 5 years old? That sucks. Until I started writing about my experiences and looking for new stuff I didn't even know kids were afflicted with pancreatitis in fact as I have mentioned previously I figured since most docs couldn't even recognize the symptoms that I was kinda by myself lol. Let us know how the grape seed extarct works out for you. Some people get relief with small doses, with others it takes a bunch. So what I did is I just kept increasing until I noticed a difference and then increased a bit more and stayed there. That with diet made ALL the difference.
anonymous on September 15, 2013:
I was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis when I was 5. Even I can't count the number of episodes till now. I am 24 now. Thank you for sharing your experience. I would like to share some other things I do during an episode that help me:
1. sounds lame but it does help: put a towel dipped in cold water on your abdomen (this is something I learned from naturopathy)
2. as and when your pain subsides start with sips of tender coconut water..it works wonders for me!
3. I couldn't agree more when you said if you do't feel hungry don't eat..listen to your body..it will tell you what to do..if you have just introduced soft food after staying on liquids for a couple of days to give your pancreas some rest and you again start feeling some discomfort or pain..stop and go back one step..back to liquids..
4. it is idiosyncratic.. each one needs to figure out what works best for them.
5. stress and lifestyle also plays an important role..eating at regular intervals..small meals..regular exercise (not very intense)..(Typically I don't exercise a couple of weeks after an episode)
6. most important your will power..to just bounce back each time.. you can't afford to loose it..
there's a lot more to say..I ll add to it later..
thanks a lot for sharing. I plan to try grape seed!
good luck :)
MeirSprecher on September 10, 2013:
My wife was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis in Feb. 2012. Since then she has had 12 further serious acute attacks. Her gallbladder was taken out and still she had attacks. We found your site and started with grape seed, curcumin and strict diet. Now the last months the attacks come wider apart in time and are of lower magnitude. She started to ta Creon pills on order of her doctor. That helped too, I think. These pills provide to digestive system with a supplement of the enzymes the pancreas creates, thus relieving the stress on the pancreas.
My wife was diagnosed as having Celiac disease (allergy to Gluten) at the age of 49. I think both these diseases of the digestive tract are connected,but cannot find support for this.
Thank you for providing us with hope that you can live with these diseases.
By the way, being Jewish and living in Israel I can tell you that one of our famous rabbi's, "RAMBAM", he was the doctor to Salah a Din in the 15th century, and is by many believed to be one of the fathers of modern medicine, already wrote about the medical powers of Grape seed, Curcumine and many other natural herbs.
PS. I found many products of grape seed via amazon. do you have some you advise?
Thanks and again, you gave us hope.
anonymous on August 11, 2013:
@anonymous: hello everyone my name is patricia and Im leaving this message on behalf of my brother, he have been suffering from chronic pancreatitis for over two years. Its so sad to say that my brother never have a good day.,his illness has taken a hugh impact on the entire family. Its so hard to see someone you love in so much pain. My brother hurts so bad until he be balled up in pain on the floor.he was just discharged from the hospital yesterday. I dont know whats going to take place with this situation. Every time he has a flare up he ends up with anurism which is very dangerous. the doctor said that his pancreas is almost burned out. The doctor also said that his pancreas is to damage to be removed. the pain just never stop its only get worst.and the doctors dont really seem to care they dont do a good job at all helping my brother with the pain he is going through. Its real bad when you in the hospital in still have to suffer
Chocolatealchemy from London, United Kingdom on April 18, 2013:
What a great Lens - you've shared so much valuable info, thank you. I'm going to pass this on to someone I know who has pancreatitis. Here's to radiant glowing health!
happynutritionist on March 11, 2013:
I don't have Pancreatitis, and am sorry for the pain you've been through, but am also so grateful that it has lead to such a resource as this page is. Thank you for sharing so much, and such wonderful natural solutions. Be well!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on February 27, 2013:
@anonymous: Hi Jay thank you for the kind words and congrats on overcoming your thirst for alcohol. I commend you! Keep up the great job and continue healing. I wish you the best my friend.
anonymous on January 18, 2013:
@TheHealthGuy LM: Hi HG, congratulations you are doing gr8 job.I was diagnosed with AP 10 months before due to Alcohol. thankfully the doctor quickly realized the problem and I was hospitalized for over a week. since then I stopped drinking with the help of AA. currently I am not on any medication and I really want to share that grapefruit juice is really wonderful, in addition to that i drink green juice (spinach, celery, coriander) with ginger and lime.
keep the good work going. thx.
anonymous on January 17, 2013:
Thanks for the info! On 12/26 I was admitted to the ER with with Acute "viral" necrotizing pancreatitis. Growing up in the South Pacific I had falciparum malaria about a dozen times. The Dr.'s last month all assumed I was an alcoholic, treating my pancreatitis as such. No family history of it, no injury, hardly any alcohol ever, never any fatty foods. So I was assumed to be a liar and an alcoholic.
If you have had malaria, (which ives forever in your bone marrow) have them run a malaria test. Recent study in India shows "falciparum malaria presenting as acute necrotizing pancreatitis"
I was in the hospital for 3 weeks, half of that on live support. Liver shut down, kidneys failed, lungs filled with fluid etc. When I was released, I was told that I am ok to resume eating a fatty diet. (I am a vegetarian BTW, don't eat meat / fatty foods).
Just wanted to toss in my $.02. If anyone reading this has ever had a tropical disease, see a tropical disease specialist as well as your current Dr. (that you trust).
TapIn2U on January 01, 2013:
This is a serious problem we don't want to have. Thank you for the info. Sundae ;-)
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 14, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Divon, first you are welcome and second - no I have never researched stem cell therapy. In fact I know as much about stem cell therapy as I do about space flight which isn't much lol.
anonymous on December 14, 2012:
Hey healthguy sorry it took so long to get back at your reply and i am so thankful that you did respond to my question. my pancreatitis was deemed idiopathic after an array of tests (MRCP, Abdominal ultrasounds) came back as clean as a whistle. But my GI doctor thinks it could be due to a viral infection, because around the time of my flare up i had come down with a pretty bad flu. another even odder cause my doctor thinks could have caused it would be a temporary, medicated filling i received in my molar the day before my pancreatitis attack, the doctor said that there is a sure chance i could have had an ill reaction to the medication. But i am happy to report that since my initial attack which was about 2 months ago, i have not had another and the doctor is confident that i wont, seeing as i had one of the more "milder" attacks, but he has instructed me to not over indulge in fatty foods which isnt a problem because i am a regular in the gym going around 5-6 days a week and maintain a healthy physique. He has also advised me to minimize alcohol intake for several months which i also dont mind doing for the benefit of my own health. Never was a huge drinker in the first place only drinking maybe twice a month and never anything overboard. I do however continue to think about it every day and relate any feeling of sensation in the abdominal area to the pancreatitis. i am not sure as to when ill be able to clear my mind on the issue because it scares me to think about living life under strict guidelines. But nonetheless i pray every single day and that gives me a sense of calm in the situation because i am a firm believer in god having a plan for all of us (one that doesn't involve a pancreas i hope). But there is one question i want to ask, have you done any research on stem cell therapy in the regeneration of damaged pancreatic cells? i have found a websites that offer little insight on the topic but the information seems promising.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on December 04, 2012:
@anonymous: GTRajan as you know i can't or am not suppose to give advice about pancreatitis because I am not a doctor. I can and have told people what i personally do to avoid more attacks of acute pancreatitis and slow the progression even stop chronic pancreatitis through diet and supplements and that may or may not be right for you.
I do not use creon but I do use a digestive enzyme product with pancreatin 4 x but if your doc has prescribed creon you be taking it as directed.
If it were me and it has been I would do exactly what I say I do. I take grape seed extract, vitamin C and curcumin daily. It is simply a ritual I do not abstain from and I adhere to my diet.
It is good to hear you kicked alcohol out of your life because for those of us with pancreatitis it is NOT condusive to a long life. Alcohol is highly inflammatory and toxic to a damaged pancreas.
Good luck to you. I hope you heal.
anonymous on November 18, 2012:
Thanks for such wonderful and useful information i am 30 yrs young from India.
I ve been diagnosed with Chronic Pancreatitis last month(Oct'2012) due to alcohol consumption .with the Impression of"Extensive smooth Dilation of pancreatic duct and its side branches"& also it is observed in MRCP that there is an intraductal lesion(8mm) in the distal most pancreatic duct.Dia of the Main pancreatic Duct ~ 10mm.
Deliberately i am ready to lead my life w/o alcohol.Now the pain is reduced and i feel extensive pain in Back when i eat some oily or toast food.and i , As of now i am not taking any pills for pain.But during meal rarely i take Creon(10000,25000) as my Doctor advised to do so.
Apart from this is it advisable to use the Grap seed extract & Curcumin.?
And i m really worried and dreadful about my future.Give some heal through your valuable tips please:-)
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 22, 2012:
@anonymous: Divon - Dang I never get everything said at once. WHY did you have pancreatitis anyway? Do you know? That would tell you whether or not you had a chance of skating by CP. If it is due to heredity (hereditary pancreatitis) or autoimmune disease or high blood fat levels it may be very difficult to skate. Otherwise you may have a chance :-)
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 22, 2012:
@anonymous: Divon, there is ALWAYS a chance that you could skate by. IF you had an extremely mild case of AP your pancreas may full recover and you may never have issues again but I wouldn't count on it especially if you continue to eat like a normal person and continue to drink alcohol.
Knowing what I know now I can only suggest you adhere to a strong anti-inflammatory, low fat diet and take supplements for 6 months to a year in order to allow your pancreas to COMPLETELY heal and my thoughts are that the chance of total healing and escape from future episodes of AP and/or progression to CP would only be good IF you have had only ONE episode of acute pancreatitis and it was extremely mild. I hope you skate!
anonymous on October 22, 2012:
thanks for all of the useful information, every bit of it helps. i have a milder case of pancreatitis and at my worst was only at a 238 lipase level. since then ive drank more water than i ever have in my life in order to cleanse my organs and flush my system. my lipase in my last test was at a 130 and it feels as though it is only getting better. i have been able to eat without experiencing any pain which is relieving, i feel as though i am lucky and it is going to pass. but i am in mental terror, this condition has caused me to worry about it becoming chronic because most information sites lead you to believe once you have pancreatitis it will never subside. is there any words of wisdom you could offer me to make me feel better about this situation. i am only 20 years old and my pancreatitis is NOT alcohol induced
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on October 17, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Anne. I am missing a bunch of comments lately (they seem to be slipping through the cracks) so I apologize for not responding sooner. Your story doesn't sound fun, sorry you have pancreatitis and autoimmune disease as well. Many women with Sjogrens also have Celiac Disease. Has your doc checked? It's amazing what Celiac Disease does. It is systemic, especially undiagnosed and uncontrolled so IF that is a problem and you go completely grain free (gluten free) you could see your reflux disappear along with many other symptoms, just saying. And an anti-inflammatory diet for pancreatitis is extremely important. There are ONLY two enemies FAT and alcohol but fats appear in medium to high amounts in almost everything except fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes. It wasn't until I started eating a diet low in fat that I began to heal, which means no beef/red meat, no pork, no lamb, no duck nor anything that is made with or contains those as ingredients (broths, soups, etc are out). No mayo, butter, margarine, no cooking oil, no oil period. Oil is fat. Fat is the enemy.
Good luck Anne :-)
P.S. Drink grapefruit juice. White, unsweetened grapefruit juice. Ocean Spray is a good brand with no added sugar. Garpefruit juice could do wonderful things for you, it did for me. Grapefruit juice and diet were the first steps to my healing, then I found the supplements.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on September 17, 2012:
@anonymous: Actually there is research out that states coffee is good for those with pancreatitis. Not necessarily the caffiene but the flavonoids, antioxidants. Donuts on the other hand are full of FAT; not good.
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on September 17, 2012:
@anonymous: I wouldn't worry to much about your son playing football, just tell him to keep his head down and go in low lol. If we worry about all the things that could happen to us in life we wouldn't live life and enjoy it.
anonymous on September 12, 2012:
Thanks so much for this information! A thousand times more informative than most sites i've come across.I'm about to turn 24 and I have idiopathic CP. It started out as AP right after i turned 21 (no i wasn't drinking heavily), my initial attack was terrible, 2100 lipase and in the hospital for 10 days. Since then, I have been getting worse and worse. The doctors have been able to tell me absolutely nothing! I have had 3 CT scans, ultrasounds,an upper endoscopy, and an ERCP. Still nothing. My lipase levels haven't been under 200 since i've been diagnosed. I have inconsistent bowel movements and it drives me crazy. Stomach aches are the worst in the morning time but usually last all day. Does anyone know of a good gastro in the denver CO area?????? I feel like i am slowing dying. Also i have a question about coffee, I know caffeinne can't be good for people like us, but if i am not drinking any soda or anything else, do you think a cup of coffe a day would make me any worse?? Working in an office really sucks with pancreatitis - donuts always around, coffee just calling my name, sweets evvvvvvvvverywhere. My sympathy goes out to anyone else dealing with this terrible disease...
anonymous on September 12, 2012:
I also have had pancreatitis since about 1979. Codeine is my saviour for pain. This latest episode is now on day 32. Yesterday I had a baked potatoe with butter and sour cream. How stupid of me. I thought I was over the worst of it, was off pain killers for two days. Wong assumption. Thank you ever so much for your blog. They do not see anything wrong on ultrasound. Pancreatitis started with Gallblader. They made me suffer with gallstones for 21 years before finally taking it out. But even after taking out my gallstones the pancreatitis has continued. I have also had kidney stones, stones in my tear ducts, stones in my saliva glands, and probably other places I don't know about. I also have Hashimotos thyroid, Sjogrens disease, Reflux esophagitis which caused me to change my diet completely, anemia - pernicius and magablastic, osteoarthritis all over controlled with steroid like injections, COPD - controlled, asthma, etc. So far I take 13 meds per day which is counting all my eyes,nose and mouth meds for Sjogrens. Never knew that Sjogrens could be a precusor to Pancreatitis. As I mentioned, I am now on day 32. Prior to this I went about 13 months without an attack which was wonderful. Obviously it was my diet that caused this latest attack. Should mention that I have also been on Mobicox an anti-inflammatory since 1998. As I am on disability I cannot afford grapdseed and others. Am hoping to get a loan from a friend soon so I can buy grapeseed, etc. Doctor recently put me on pancrease, very expensive and thank goodness covered by insurance. Pancrease is giving me lower stomach cramps, probably readjusting the bowels. I also had the fatty, greasy, stinky, floating stools. As I returned to a better stool formation, I thought the present flare up was improving. I was wrong. As mentioned I have been suffering off and on since 1979. I think my body has been regenerating the pancreas over the years or else my ultrasound would not look normal.
Anne, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
anonymous on September 11, 2012:
Wow, this is a very informative page on pancreatitis! Thank you for sharing your story, I'm sure that you are helping a lot of people suffering from the same thing. I'm happy to hear that you are still able to eat and that you're hanging in there 30 years later after the doctor told you that you would need a transplant within 10.
My son is in 6th grade and wants to start playing football next year, this really scares me!
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on August 25, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Annie, I am sorry that you are among those of us who have the pancreatitis pain t-shirt. Toanswer your question in regards to diet let me just say YES! It is imperative that your diet eliminates ALL acute pancreatitis triggers and allow your inflamed pancreas to heal. Your pancreas will NOT heal while you consume foods that piss it off. It is absolutely imperative to eliminate the inflammation and triggers. You can find all the things I personally have done and still do on this page and at my blog. I hope you find healing cuz being sick with AP/CP sucks.
anonymous on August 22, 2012:
Thank you for the information! I have suffered for along time with pain, diarreah, sweating,and fever and would get very sick and throw up. It would be over after that for about a month or two. Last year I went to the ER in excruciating pain only to be told I had acid reflux, I was angry because I knew the doctor was wrong. Also for about a week before I had this feeling in my upper parts right below my ribs I had pressure and a feeling of heaviness and not being able to catch my breath. Well i went home on pain meds and still not feeling well woke up the next morning with a sense that something bad was coming....I went to the planned family reunion pulled into the park and was hit once again with pain so bad I could not control my screaming at the ER they figured out that i had pancreatitis. I was there for 3 days and could not eat and on pain killers. I have had pains here and there since then but nothing like that. My question to you is: Do you think that following a no fat diet would benefit me or do you think i fall into that category of a sufferer. I seem to instinctivly know that another attack is waiting for me and I feel like its right around the corner. I have not went to another doc because you are right they act like its all in your head! I had my gallbladder removed 6 years ago and it took months to get anyone to listen to me about the pain until I ended up in the ER in again excruciating pain. And by the way they told me a stone had most likely blocked a duct but became disloged. Thank you
TheHealthGuy LM (author) from U.S.A. on July 30, 2012:
@anonymous: Semper Fi Rick! Sorry to hear you too have this pancreatitis shit. Sucks don't it? No way for a warrior to tag out and be sure ya don't bro. That means stay off the booze. Watch your diet and learn the drill if ya want to live. Keep comms open, let me know how you are doing.
anonymous on July 29, 2012:
Semper fi! Thank you for the absolute best post on pancreatitis on the web! After spending much time researching this, and getting completely frustrated by the contradictory info available, your site is a breath of fresh air. Your experience is similar to mine. Had my first bout three years ago and went to the er where they admitted me.
Had my second bout in February 2012, was advised to stay in the hospital. Did not! Survived. Had my third bout last week. Didn't have this advice as it would have reduced the time I spent in pain, and, boy, is this stuff painful!
Will be implementing your suggestions about supplements.
P.s. mine was caused by alcohol abuse, so that is totally out the window!