You might be wondering whether pancreas problems can occur after gallbladder removal are possible, and that is what we are discussing in this article. We will tell you more about gallstone pancreatitis, and what you can do to prevent it.
Can You Get Pancreatitis After a Gallbladder Removal?
Pancreatitis or pancreas inflammation is usually an acute condition that manifests by severe pain in the abdomen, vomiting, nausea, fever, etc.
According to experts, gallstones are the main reason for pancreatitis. The inflammation occurs when a stone enters the pancreatic duct and blocks it. Although you will reduce the risk of that happening by removing the gallbladder, the odds of that happening still exist.
What You Should Know About Gallstone Pancreatitis?
As the name suggests, this is a form of pancreas inflammation caused by gallstones. The pancreas plays an important role in our digestion system as it helps in breaking down food by producing the required enzymes and fluids.
Although it is a small organ, pancreas inflammation can cause severe pain. The pain occurs when a gallstone finds its way to the pancreatic duct. It remains there and blocks the duct, which leads to gallstone pancreatitis.
The gallbladder is the organ where gallstone formation occurs. However, that stone might move to the pancreatic duct. It positions itself so that there is no way of accessing duodenum, the first section of the small intestine.
As a result, the fluid can’t go into the duodenum and now travels through the pancreatic or bile duct. That is what causes severe pain in the right upper part of the abdomen and gallstone pancreatitis. As with any inflammation, it is important to treat it as soon as possible, or it might have severe consequences.
How to Recognize Gallstone Pancreatitis Symptoms
You are probably aware that inflammation is followed by fever and chills, and that is also true for pancreatitis. As for the specific symptoms of this condition, you might notice vomiting and nausea, as well as jaundice.
The most common symptom of pancreatitis is a pain. It might be referred pain, and it can move from the upper abdomen to your shoulders, chest, and back. The pain might last for hours, and even OTC medications might not be able to stop it entirely.
How to Diagnose Gallstone Pancreatitis
It is important to mention that only a medical professional can confirm the diagnosis of any condition and disease. That includes gallstone pancreatitis, which is why it is important to schedule a visit to your doctor.
You might be asked to take blood tests, ultrasound or other scans. A blood test is a reliable way of confirming inflammation. Ultrasounds, MRI, and CT scans can confirm gallstones and the severity of your condition. It can show that the gallstone is in the pancreatic duct, and confirm that the removal is necessary.
Does Gallstone Pancreatitis Require Hospitalization?
In most cases, medical professionals will recommend staying in the hospital for a few days. A mild inflammation should be resolved by avoiding foods and drinks for several days. Depending on your condition, the doctor might decide to prescribe IV treatment to ensure you receive the necessary fluids.
Severe pancreatitis might require you to restrain from food for longer than a few days. In that case, healthcare providers might set up a special tube to feed you with nutrients. Medications will help to reduce nausea and pain you are feeling. It might take a while for your body to pass the stone, which is why patience is important.
If it is necessary, your healthcare provider might recommend surgery to remove the stone. Those dealing with severe pancreatitis might need surgery immediately, or deal with inflammation and then remove the gallstones.
Why It Is Important to Get Medical Help As Soon As Possible?
If you notice the symptoms mentioned here, especially sharp and intense pain, contact your doctor immediately. Complications might lead to other infections and pancreas tissue damage. Feel free to ask a medical professional any questions related to your conditions. Also, make sure to discuss the potential treatments. Once you receive instructions from your doctor, make sure to follow them.
Is It Possible to Prevent Pancreatitis?
Unfortunately, it is not possible to be 100% sure you will prevent gallstones from forming, and pancreatitis caused by that. The good news is that you can take steps to reduce the risk factors for this condition.
- A healthy diet – try to avoid unhealthy and processed foods, especially those meals loaded with fat.
- Maintain optimal weight – obesity might be a risk factor for gallstones.
- Maintain optimal blood sugar and cholesterol levels – diabetes and increased cholesterol might add to the risk of developing gallstones.
You can discuss with your healthcare provider about other changes to your lifestyle that could help to prevent gallstone pancreatitis.
Can Gallbladder Surgery Cause Pancreatitis?
The risk of the surgery itself causing pancreatitis is virtually non-existent. Additionally, the risk of pancreatitis will be significantly reduced. However, we already mentioned that you might not resolve all problems related to gallstone pancreatitis with surgery to remove the gallbladder. You might still have pancreas problems after your gallbladder removal, which is why maintaining a healthy lifestyle remains essential.