Main Article on Acute and Chronic Pancreatitis Question: What were your symptoms of acute pancreatitis? Submit Your Comment Comment from: Dawn, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 05 Diagnosed with familial pancreatitis at 52, I have had 2 severe acute pancreatitis attacks and now suffer with chronic pancreatitis with flares that I try to control before they get out of hand. Now I am getting the signs of another flare, but trying to deal with it by going on only clear liquids for 3 days. They start with mild nausea, stabbing pain in the upper left that will spread to my upper right and to my flank, then worsen if I can't stop them. Pain worsens if I lie down flat or on my left side. No gallbladder and never drink. Comment from: Farida, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: November 21 I had my gallbladder removed February 2018, and it was a nightmare! I came home the 2nd day and then went back in later that night with excruciating pain. Doctors said it was colic pain due to the operation. This year in 2019 July I had partial hysterectomy, all well for 3 months, and now back to square one with pancreatitis; stabbing dull pain in the lower right stomach! I had a CT scan and results have come back abnormal! Seeing my general physician tomorrow to discuss results. Best of luck with life to everyone, it's hard and never ending pain. Comment from: Tyler, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: November 19 I've been suffering from bouts of acute pancreatitis since 2010. I lost roughly 100 lb. without any effort, in three years. In 2015, I noticed a stabbing sensation in my left shoulder blade. In 2017, I had a constant urge to urinate, along with lower left back pain. Finally, in 2019, it caught up and landed me in the hospital. CT showed a normal pancreas despite an elevated lipase. No gallstones. Doctors said it had nothing to do with alcohol, even though I'm a heavy drinker. Very unsettling. Comment from: paula , 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: October 18 I have severe tenderness, and it hurts in some place on my whole stomach. I have severe back pain, I urinate constantly, have headache, feel very weak, and my muscles hurt. I break out with little red dots on my arms and hands. I am scared it's more than pancreatitis. Comment from: Jodie, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 02 I was completely covered in bruises on my groin, legs, back and stomach (which was 3 times its normal size). I stayed in hospital for 11 days for treating acute pancreatitis and even though I have been home almost a week I am still struggling to eat and my body feels absolutely exhausted all of the time. Even having a shower tires me out! Comment from: Di, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 26 I have pain in the center of my abdominal area near the bottom of the esophagus, severe upon waking and sitting up. I have nausea and diarrhea daily from the pancreatitis. Comment from: Mick1973 , 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: July 12 I've been diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis since 2010 and have 2 small pseudocysts on my pancreas. I have constant pain like a red-hot coal in the center of my abdomen radiating through to my back. When I have acute phases, I have pain so bad it can't be described. It is beyond words. I vomit as it brings 2 minutes of relief from the agony. Acute phases always end up in Accident and Emergency where even morphine is ineffective. I end up on fentanyl and even that brings only mild relief. Torture! Comment from: SI, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 28 I am a healthy 48 year old female who has rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren's syndrome. I was 5 weeks post operation of laparoscopic total hysterectomy. One minute I was watching TV and the next unable to walk or move. It was the most intense pain and pressure directly under my breastbone. It was unbearable. My husband called 911 and I was taken to the hospital and diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. I don't drink, I don't have my gallbladder and have normal cholesterol. Sulfasalazine may be the cause. Comment from: Tiger33, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: September 24 My symptom of acute pancreatitis was severe upper gastric pain below my breast bone through to the back. Comment from: Sheila , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 07 I started having really sharp pains directly below my breasts and I also began having nausea and vomiting. I had some tests done at the hospital, they diagnosed me with acute pancreatitis and immediately started me on morphine, because the pain was unbearable. I couldn't eat or drink anything for almost a week. Thanks to the doctors I was released after 8 or 9 days later. I was advised to quit drinking alcohol and it's still a daily fight, but I don't ever want to go through that again! SLIDESHOW Super Tips to Boost Digestive Health: Bloating, Constipation, and More See Slideshow Comment from: NevaehRevansmom, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 17 My pancreatitis started about 4 months ago. I noticed I would have small attacks but would push it aside until 4 days ago, when the pain in my upper left side became so bad it caused me to violently vomit. I got to the emergency room, they did a bunch of tests, and I was transferred to a different hospital. Yesterday I had an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) done and I feel about 70 percent better. They will be removing the gallbladder so I don't have future attacks. Comment from: I am a Victim, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 27 I started feeling a constant urge to urinate and after 4 months of symptoms and 4 different doctors treated me for a urinary tract infection, another doctor sent me in for an ultrasound. In no time I found myself seeing a doctor who said I had sphincter of Oddi dysfunction causing pancreatitis. He persuaded me to have an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography). Well, he did not know he nicked an artery. I had 14 units of blood, went into cardiac arrest two times and 25 hours later, the doctor took me back to repair the artery. He perforated the common bile duct and told me he repaired it. I stayed in ICU 20 days. I kept complaining of pain and nausea but all tests were normal. I finally went to another hospital after 5 months of misery. The doctor there did an ERCP and discovered the first doctor improperly stunted the perforated bile duct. I had been leaking bile for the entire time. Doctors rely too heavily on lab tests and tests. I now suffer every day because of scar tissue and adhesions. I did not have sphincter of Oddi and did not need that first ERCP. I have huge medical bills due to medical error. I do have a malpractice claim but no lawyer will sue because they say there is not enough physical damage to my body. So be wary of doctors that sell procedures like a car salesman. Do not believe everything the medical professionals tell you. Be your own advocate. If I had not gone to a different hospital, I would have died. Comment from: JP, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 06 My pancreatitis started after Christmas with severe pain in my back, radiating around the bottom ribs to the front, alongside abdominal pain. I had bouts of diarrhea. I saw 2 general physicians several times between April and May and they thought I had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), osteoporosis-arthritis, trapped nerve, etc. I was referred to a physiotherapist for the back pain and had 2 painful sessions! I then spent 3 days vomiting and luckily I saw a different doctor who referred me to upper gastrointestinal specialist with suspected cancer (in June). I had ultra-scan which showed gallbladder sludge, CT scan (findings looked like mass in pancreas) then EUS (endoscopic ultrasound) which showed no tumor but inflammation in pancreas and dilated bile and pancreatic ducts. Specialist said I should be symptom free by August. I slowly began to feel better but at end of July it got worse with pain again round ribs and upper abdomen. Diarrhea again. Now in mid-August I have upped the painkillers yet again and am waiting for follow up CT in September. I have lost 25 kg weight over the last 6 months and I feel exhausted. Comment from: Doretha, Female (Patient) Published: April 14 I had the acute version of pancreatitis. In April 2013 I was getting ready for a trip. Last thing I remember! I woke up in November around Thanksgiving. No idea what had happened to me. I was on life support, feeding tubes, pain medicines, tubes everywhere, etc. I was unable to walk, talk, or use my hands. Comment from: Selina, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 26 My pancreatitis symptoms started suddenly. I got horrible pain in the center of my stomach and radiating around to my back. It felt like hot fingernails clawing me. It was worse than giving birth to all three of my children! I also had a lot of nausea and diarrhea, so I thought it was my irritable bowel. I ended up have a couple if endoscopies in which the doctor couldn't find anything. Finally one day, I had an attack and passed out on the toilet from the pain! Every time I had an attack, I would get blood red from my breast to the tip of my head, and the palms of my hands, and the soles of my feet would burn. I would get short of breath and feel like I was dying! I've even told my family goodbye because I couldn't imagine having that much pain and living through it! Emergency medical technicians came and took me to the hospital and I asked for a different gastroenterologist. Thank goodness I did, because he found I had pancreatitis and that my duct leading into the pancreas was too small and needed to be stretched and a stent put in. I lost 40 lb. in a month and a half! People couldn't believe I recovered so quickly! Comment from: lazer, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: February 11 I first got pancreatitis on a business trip. My family always had gastrointestinal (GI) issues so I thought I just had to ride it out, and it ended up so bad I had to go to an emergency room (ER). My symptoms were achy, queasy sensation on top of the gut just under the chest and all the way from left to right, not extremely intense but very bothersome and worrisome, intensifying after eating or drinking anything, even water, very gassy out of both ends with a taste like popcorn that just went bad, a constant desire to urinate or move your bowels even if there is nothing there like as if I had kidney stones, and constant light nausea that will intensify periodically. I am not sure if I was told this in the clinic or read it or both, but heard that some less urgent cases could be solved by dilating the GI tract which could be done by intensively bearing down on the toilet or inducing vomiting, and it has worked personally on a few occasions but not always. QUESTION Pancreatitis is inflammation of an organ in the abdomen called the pancreas. See Answer Comment from: Carol, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 28 It has been a long road, about 25 years of symptoms. Started out as pain and tenderness below sternum area. Said I had chronic gastritis. Had severe constipation. Could only eat small meals and felt full for a very long time. Had severe bloating. Symptoms progressively got worse over the years. Began having horrible nausea, epigrastic and right flank pain after eating. A Hida scan showed gallbladder functioning at only 8% and said probable sphincter of oddie dysfunction. Had gall bladder out Jan 2010.The doc told me this would cure me. One month later still had same symptoms, only more severe. I kept telling my doc, I thought it was my pancreas. My blood sugar might run 60 one hour after eating or it might be 160 three hours after eating. I kept complaining to my doctors. They did CTs, MRIs, MRCP, US, blood work didn't show any increases in pancreatic enzymes and all scans showed up clear. I finally got my doc to refer me to a specialist about having an ERCP done in Louisville. He did an endoscopic US of the pancreas and it showed pancreas divism (birth defect with pancreas having two ducts instead of one ). It also showed five out of nine criteria for chronic pancreatitis. He tried a large dose of Pancreas enzymes which I could not tolerate. He was not in any hurry to do an ERCP because of my deformed pancreas. When I could no longer tolerate the nausea and pain, I went back. I had the ERCP on July 21, 2011.He put a stent in the pancreas and the common bile duct. I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 days and had 5 days of horrible spasm type abdominal pain He said my pancreas is very inflamed. They called today and want to do another ERCP in 3 weeks, not understanding this since they told me the stents would be taken out in two months. One thing to note: when I would eat, it would set off a series of symptoms like my heart pounding and beating fast, chest pressure, abdominal and flank pain and severe headache. These were caused by the pancreatitis stimulating the vagal nerve. The docs really need to listen to what the patient says and not rely so heavily on labs and first line tests. I was misdiagnosed and undiagnosed for so long that my pancreas is probably permanently damaged and will never recover well. Be your own health advocate. Never give up if you feel something is being missed with your health. Comment from: Sippy, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: June 19 My symptom of acute pancreatitis was pain in the middle of my back and bottom of my rib cage, like a stabbing pain. Comment from: Holyg45 , 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 05 All I remember was lying down on the bed at home and waking up two weeks later with tubes and my stomach left opened. I was on a ventilator for two weeks, and no solid food for over a month. My gallbladder was removed as well as parts of my stomach and my pancreas. I had the worst kind of pancreatitis. Comment from: Cat1997, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: July 05 I am wondering if I do have pancreas issues. About six to eight times a year, I have severe pain that is below my sternum and extends straight through to my back. It is horrible. I will try and reposition myself or lie down and tap on my stomach to rid myself of it, but it does not go away for anywhere from 10 to 25 minutes. I started having it in my twenties, but it was only about once a year back then. I am now in my fifties. Comment from: irene, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: June 19 I do not drink, I have the occasional (very occasional) glass of wine. My last pancreatitis attack was severe and I had no alcohol for 5 weeks. It was sudden and severe. I am careful what I eat. I developed pain in my abdomen so I cut out food that day, only drinking water. It did not help and the pain got worse. This is the 4th day now, and I am no better. I suspect that tea triggers an onset. Comment from: womandranktoomuch, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 07 I drink too much. A few years ago I had a painful bout of pancreatitis that put me in the hospital for a few days. After that, I tried to stop drinking, and succeeded for a few months. Now I'm back to square one. I'm not in the hospital yet, just sitting at work in a lot of pain. I'm going to try to drink broth, etc., before going to the hospital. Time to stop drinking for good. Comment from: Holly, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 22 Recently the doctor diagnosed me with smoldering pancreatitis. The pain is my abdomen, spreading to my back, chest and shoulder like a stabbing, burning poker. Actually I have not found any words to describe this. I fought going to the hospital for IV treatment. I stayed home with hydrocodone. Broth, gelatin, and diluted juice were the only things I could tolerate for the last three weeks. The doctors told me this is serious and an attack can be like threatening. They are not sure what triggered this attack. I am not sure where we go from here. Comment from: Brooke, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 24 I woke up feeling as if I inhaled 20 gallons of air. I was so bloated. I had pain across my stomach and under my rib cage. I went to the hospital about 5 hours later. By the time I got there the pain had increased so much I could hardly walk, my pancreatic enzymes were 450 and by the following night 5000. After 8 days I came home and because I was a drinker craved candy as I did not know the booze I drank every day was full of sugar and my body craved it. Comment from: Amber, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05 Diarrhea, headaches, hiccups, pain in abdomen, back, shoulder, chest, nausea, internal bleeding, fever, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, confusion, skin rash, difficulty breathing, anxiety, inability to eat, malabsorption, elevated lipase levels, gallbladder ejection fraction of 14%, and internal abdominal scar tissue Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: September 11 Started with an ache in my upper right back that I thought was related to exercise. I had a slightly fattier than normal breakfast including one strip of bacon. Afterwards I felt like there was something wrong with the food and the bacon seemed to be "stuck" in my stomach. That evening and the next day I had abdominal tenderness just under my center rib cage and over to the right side. No pain on the left side at all. I did not have nausea but had no interest in food so did not eat anything. I went into the hospital for 5 days and lost 10lbs. Comment from: Satish, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: May 31 I have been suffering since 2006 till date have regular attacks of a pain in my stomach and was diagnosed with pancreatitis. The frequency of attack is once in two months now and was a bit higher previously. The cause for the pain couldn't. E ruled out. I observed that having too spicy food irritates my pancreas and also stopped talking fatty foods as well. The pain starts at times with slow and mild increase and sometimes as a severe pain all of a sudden. I have stopped even visiting docs as they couldn't rule out the root cause and have been suffering since ages. The pain lasts up to five days and decreases slowly by radiating to the back. It normally takes one week for me to recover and be normal. Comment from: Jules, 45-54 Female Published: May 30 I thought I had gastroenteritis, then possibly food poisoning, but after 2 days I woke with huge pains in my chest, thought it was my heart. I was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis. No stomach pains what so ever. No gallstones, not a heavy drinker, and hardly ate fatty foods either. Comment from: Steph87b, 19-24 Female (Patient) Published: April 18 I have been battling chronic pancreatitis for over two years. It began with an extreme amount of upper abdominal pain which radiated through to my back, right about where my kidneys are located. I have been in constant severe pain ever sense, along with nausea, extreme fatigue, and when the pain is the most severe I have a hard time breathing. Comment from: srobinson, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 19 My pancreatitis symptoms were vomiting every single time I ate or drink anything. Smells made me sick. I was cold, tired, dizzy and in so much pain. Thought it was the flu at first. I went to the hospital Saturday and found out about it. Comment from: billycan, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: February 27 The pain started very low down in the pit of my stomach and later rose higher up. I then started to get pain under my left shoulder blade which spread across my back. I constantly felt nauseated and very tired and lost about 10 pounds. My stools became very waxy. I had an endoscopic ultrasound and was told that apart from slight enlargement, my pancreas was normal. Comment from: robin, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 10 With my pancreatitis, I had upper left belly pain to the touch, gas, and bloating. Comment from: chayamalka, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 27 For three weeks I had sharp pain left upper abdomen shooting to middle abdomen and sometimes milder on right abdomen. Always pain shot to my middle back between lower shoulder blades. Sometimes I feel a pinching in the left arm. The pain would be sharp every two days. Pain was not more or less when empty stomach or full stomach. I went to the ER and they couldn't find cause of pain. They told me to eat no fresh food, nothing raw and slowly over days the pain subsided but still I still feel pain in my back. Comment from: Hippypatti, 55-64 (Patient) Published: November 29 For 2 weeks I have had bloated stomach and back pain in mid to upper back. Also feel nauseous interrmintly. Symptoms are worse after eating. Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 12 I felt as though I had heartburn for several days. I still felt hungry etc. I did vomit for days and finally went to ER "thought maybe my heart" and they discovered pancreatitis as well as gall stones so I had gall bladder removed and now 4 months later I am starting to feel that burning in my stomach again. Comment from: Jennifer, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 08 I had surgery two weeks ago to check on a narrowing on one of my liver ducts. They told me I had a 5% chance of getting pancreatitis and I did. It was the worse pain I have ever had in my life. I was admitted in hospital for eight days and am recovering at home. I still have a lot of inflammation and discomfort. Comment from: caseyker1, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: July 20 Finally I know what that pain in my upper stomach has been for the past 40 years! It felt as if someone was sticking me with a pencil and twisting it in the center of my gut. This past week, that pain, which usually subsided in the past, got so bad, radiating to my back, and making it hard to take in a breath... I went to the E.R. My blood tests revealed pancreatitis. I'd had my gal bladder removed 10 years earlier, and was told my pain would be relieved. It was... for a while. But it soon came back, and I thought I would just have to live with it. Until that last attack last week. The docs have no idea why it happened... maybe a lifetime of chronic constipation, headache and fatigue may have led up to this or vice versa.