Patient Care


What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis has two forms - cute and chronic. Acute Pancreatitis last for a short while and usually resolves when the pancreas recovers to its normal state.

Chronic Pancreatitis occurs from repeated bouts of acute Pancreatitis and the injury to pancreas continues which scars the pancreas. This makes it unable to recover to its normal state.

Pancreatitis occurs when digestive enzymes becomes active in the pancreas and start to “digest” the pancreas. Alcoholism and gallstones are the two common causes of Pancreatitis.

Other causes include:

  • Abdominal surgery
  • Certain medications
  • Smoking
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) when used to treat gallstones
  • Family history of Pancreatitis
  • High calcium levels in blood (hypercalcaemia)
  • High levels of parathyroid hormone in the blood (hyperparathyroidism)
  • High triglyceride levels in the bloods (hypertriglyceridaemia)
  • Infection
  • Injury to the abdomen
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Ulcer
What are the signs & symptoms of Pancreatitis?
Symptoms of Acute Pancreatitis
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
  • Abdominal pain that is somewhat relieved by leaning forward or curling into a ball
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tenderness when touching the abdomen
Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Indigestion
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhoea)
How is Pancreatitis diagnosed?

Pancreatitis is diagnosed by:

  • Blood test
  • Stool test
  • Computerised tomography (CT) scan
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
What are the treatment options for Pancreatitis?

Treatment for various underlying causes include procedures to remove bile duct obstructions, gallbladder surgery, pancreas surgery and treatment for alcohol dependence. Patients may need to fast if they undergo any imaging or interventional procedures.

Hospitalisation is usually required, and pain medications and intravenous (IV) fluids may be prescribed.

Find A Doctor

Click here to access our Find A Doctor directory for a list of doctors treating this condition across our NUHS institutions.

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  • National University Hospital
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  • National University Cancer Institute, Singapore
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