Pancreatic pain - Definition

March 2017


Definition


The pancreas is an important gland of the digestive system, located in the upper section of the abdomen, and is directly linked to the duodenum, the initial part of the small intestine. It produces pancreatic juice, which is transferred to the duodenum to aid in digestion, and particularly insulin, the principal hormone involved in reducing blood sugar levels. When the pancreas is affected by disease, primarily chronic, but also acute pancreatitis, or in cases of pancreatic cancer, it can often cause severe abdominal pain. Pancreatic pain is classically described as located in the upper part of the abdomen, spreading as far as the back and sometimes to the hypochondria, located in the lower lateral area of the abdomen, occurring in intense, sudden flashes. In the majority of cases, this indicates pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, that can be caused by a number of conditions, including alcoholism, tumors, obstruction of the pancreatic ducts, infections, and so on. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

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