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Discharge Instructions for Chronic Pancreatitis 

You have been diagnosed with long-term (chronic) pancreatitis. This is caused by repeated cases of inflammation of your pancreas. It results in permanent scarring of the pancreatic tissue. The pancreas is an organ that makes chemicals and hormones that help you digest food and use sugar for energy. Some causes of chronic pancreatitis are the continued use of alcohol and tobacco, genetic disorders, and structural problems in the pancreas. Here's what you can do at home to help with your condition.

Home care

Suggestions for home care include the following: 

  • Ask someone to drive you to appointments until you know how the illness has affected you.

  • Tell your healthcare provider about any medicines you take.

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about over-the-counter pain medicines, if needed.

  • Learn to monitor your blood sugar. Keep a record of your readings. Work with your healthcare provider to control blood sugar levels.

  • Learn to take your own pulse. Keep a record of your results. Ask your healthcare provider which readings mean that you need medical attention.

  • Watch for symptoms that your pancreatitis is getting worse. These symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea or oil in your stool, weight loss, and fever.

Diet changes

Suggestions for dietary changes include the following:

  • Eat a low-fat diet. Ask your healthcare provider for menus and other diet information.

  • Take vitamins A, D, and E, and add calcium to your diet.

  • Your healthcare provider may recommend digestive enzymes to take with each meal and snack.

  • Stop drinking, especially if your illness was caused by alcohol.

    • Ask your healthcare provider about alcohol abuse programs and support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

    • Ask your healthcare provider about prescription medicines that can help you stop drinking.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment, or as advised. Be honest in follow-up appointments about any alcohol and tobacco use. Your providers need complete health information so they can prescribe appropriate treatments

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above 100.4°F (38°C), or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Severe pain in your upper abdomen to your back

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Abdominal swelling and tenderness

  • Loss of weight without dieting

Online Medical Reviewer: Jen Lehrer MD
Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2019
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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