Inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, is a serious condition that is most commonly caused by either alcohol toxicity or gallstones. Gallstones can lodge in the common bile duct and block the flow of pancreatic enzymes out of the pancreas into the intestine. Pancreatitis due to alcohol toxicity is most often seen in chronic alcoholic patients. Most often, pancreatitis goes away with nonsurgical therapy. The patient will not be allowed to eat for three to five days, to prevent secretion of enzymes by the pancreas. He will also receive pain medication to control the pain caused by pancreatic inflammation.
Update Date 1/27/2012
Updated by: George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.