Digestive Health

Chronic Pancreatitis

What is chronic pancreatitis?

Chronic pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that does not heal or improve—it gets worse over time and leads to permanent damage. Chronic pancreatitis, like acute pancreatitis, occurs when digestive enzymes attack the pancreas and nearby tissues, causing episodes of pain. Chronic pancreatitis often develops in people who are between the ages of 30 and 40.

Causes of chronic pancreatitis

The most common cause of chronic pancreatitis is many years of heavy alcohol use. The chronic form of pancreatitis can be triggered by one acute attack that damages the pancreatic duct. The damaged duct causes the pancreas to become inflamed. Scar tissue develops and the pancreas is slowly destroyed.

Less common causes of chronic pancreatitis include:

At Stanford’s Benign Pancreas Program, we’re committed to treating all patients who suffer from chronic pancreatitis. Our pancreatic specialists will determine the correct diagnosis, and then, in close collaboration with other specialists, treat the consequent abdominal pain, diarrhea, diabetes and malnutrition that are often associated with chronic pancreatitis.

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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