Pancreatitis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The pancreas and other digesitve organs

The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach. It makes hormones and enzymes to help your body digest food.

But if these enzymes attack the pancreas, it can get inflamed. This is called pancreatitis. Most cases are caused by gallstones or by heavy alcohol use.

If you take care of yourself at home, it will help you get better. It will also help you avoid more problems with your pancreas.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Drink clear liquids and eat bland foods until you feel better. Bland foods include rice, dry toast, and crackers. They also include bananas and applesauce.
  • Eat a low-fat diet until your doctor says your pancreas is healed.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Tell your doctor if you need help to quit. Counselling, support groups, and sometimes medicines can help you stay sober.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Get extra rest until you feel better.

To prevent future problems with your pancreas

  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Tell your doctors and pharmacist that you've had pancreatitis. They can help you avoid medicines that may cause this problem again.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or severe belly pain.
  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • You can't keep fluid or medicines down.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The symptoms you had when you first started feeling sick come back.
  • You do not get better as expected.
  • You need help to stop drinking alcohol.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 9, 2016