IN THIS ARTICLE
Normally, the structure of the pancreas and the pancreatic duct prevent digestive enzymes from damaging the pancreas. But certain conditions can develop that cause damage and pancreatitis.
Most attacks of pancreatitis are caused by gallstones that block the flow of pancreatic enzymes or by excessive amounts of alcohol. Sudden (acute) pancreatitis may happen after a drinking binge or after many episodes of heavy drinking.
Other causes of acute pancreatitis are:
Sometimes the cause is not known.
Experts don't know how alcohol irritates the pancreas. Most believe that alcohol either causes enzymes to back up into the pancreas or changes the chemistry of the enzymes, causing them to inflame the pancreas.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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