6 Causes of Pancreatitis

Learn symptoms of pancreatitis, and what causes it, including gallstones, alcohol use, medications, infections, high blood triglycerides (fats), and hereditary disorders.
Illustration of the pancreas.
Source: MedicineNet
Reviewed by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP on August 15, 2013

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas is a large gland located in your abdomen that produces enzymes and hormones that help break down your food so the body can digest it properly.

When the pancreas becomes inflamed, these digestive enzymes become active before they leave the pancreas, and they damage the pancreatic tissue.

There are two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Acute pancreatitis occurs suddenly over a short time period. Chronic pancreatitis usually occurs after the acute stage, when inflammation continues.

There are several causes of pancreatitis.

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