Chronic pancreatitis - discharge; Pancreatitis - chronic - discharge; Pancreatic insufficiency - discharge; Acute pancreatitis - discharge
You were in the hospital because you have pancreatitis. This is a swelling (inflammation) of the pancreas. This article tells you what you need to know to take care of yourself after you go home from the hospital.
During your stay in the hospital, you may have had blood tests and imaging exams, such as a CT scan or ultrasound. You may have been given medicines to help your pain or fight and prevent infections. You may have been given fluids through an intravenous (IV) tube in your vein and nutrition through a feeding tube or IV. You may have had a tube inserted through your nose that helped remove the contents of your stomach.
If your pancreatitis was caused by gallstones or a blocked bile or pancreatic duct, you may have had surgery. Your health care provider may also have drained a cyst (collection of fluid) in your pancreas.
After an episode of pain from pancreatitis, you should start off with drinking only clear liquids, such as soup broth or gelatin. You will need to follow this diet until your symptoms get better. Slowly add other foods back to your diet when you are better.
Talk with your provider about:
Always talk to your provider before taking any medicines or herbs.
Do not drink any alcohol.
If your body can no longer absorb fats that you eat, your provider may ask you to take a medicine called pancreatic enzymes. These will help your body absorb fats in your food better.
If your pancreas has a lot of damage, you may also develop diabetes. You will be checked for this problem.
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and foods that make your symptoms worse is the first step to controlling pain.
Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), at first to try and control your pain.
You will get a prescription for pain medicines. Get it filled when you go home so you have it available. If the pain is getting worse, take your pain medicine to help before the pain becomes very bad.
Contact your provider if you have:
Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 135.
Tenner S, Baillie J, DeWitt J, Vege SS; American College of Gastroenterology. American College of Gastroenterology guideline: management of acute pancreatitis. Am J Gastroenterol. 2013;108(9):1400-1415. PMID: 23896955 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23896955/.
Van Buren G, Fisher WE. Acute and chronic pancreatitis. In: Kellerman RD, Rakel DP, Heidelbaugh JJ, Lee EM, eds. Conn's Current Therapy 2023. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier 2023:173-180.
Vege SS. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 58.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 10/31/2022
Reviewed By: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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