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Suhail Salem, MD -  - Gastroenterology

United Gastroenterologists

Gastroenterology located in Northridge, CA & Encino, CA

If you’re experiencing radiating pain in your upper abdomen, you might have pancreatitis. This painful digestive disorder causes pain that varies from mild to severe, but Suhail Salem, MD, can provide relief. At his practice in Northridge and Encino, California, Dr. Salem brings the most advanced diagnostic and treatment options available to managing complex gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis. Don’t ignore your abdominal pain. Call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today.

Pancreatitis Q & A

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when you develop inflammation in your pancreas. This organ, found in your upper abdomen near your stomach, makes enzymes and hormones that help you digest food and process blood sugar.

You can have either acute or chronic pancreatitis. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly but subsides in days while chronic pancreatitis can last for several years.

What causes pancreatitis?

When you have pancreatitis, the digestive enzymes in your pancreas cause irritation and inflammation. You can develop pancreatitis for several reasons, including:

  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Having gallstones or abdominal surgery
  • Taking certain types of medications
  • Experiencing infections or abdominal injuries
  • Developing a blockage in the pancreas enzyme drainage duct
  • Having a family history of pancreatitis
  • Experiencing certain conditions, like cystic fibrosis or pancreatic cancer

In some cases, you can develop pancreatitis without having an obvious cause.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?

If you have pancreatitis, you can experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Pain in your upper abdomen
  • Radiating abdominal pain that worsens after eating
  • Fever, nausea, or vomiting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Smelly, oily stools

Without treatment, pancreatitis can trigger serious health complications like kidney failure, diabetes, malnutrition, and pancreatic cancer.

How is pancreatitis diagnosed?

Dr. Salem diagnoses pancreatitis by performing a comprehensive physical exam, discussing your symptoms, and administering additional testing. These often include:

  • Blood analysis to check your pancreatic enzyme levels
  • Stool tests to evaluate nutrient absorption
  • Scans to look for pancreas inflammation or gallstones

Dr. Salem also has advanced and specialized training in endoscopic techniques to diagnose and treat GI disorders like pancreatitis.

How is pancreatitis treated?

After diagnosing your pancreatitis and its cause, Dr. Salem might suggest a variety of treatments to help control your condition. The first course to managing pancreatitis usually involves fasting to control inflammation, pain medications to manage your pain, and intravenous fluids to help repair your pancreas.

To treat the cause of your pancreatitis, Dr. Salem makes recommendations tailored to your unique needs. These might include endoscopic treatments or surgery. For chronic pancreatitis, Dr. Salem might also offer pain management techniques, nutritional enzymes, and dietary modifications.

Call Suhail Salem, MD, or schedule an appointment online today if you suspect you may have pancreatitis.