Inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, is a serious condition that is most commonly caused by either alcohol toxicity or gallstones.
Gallstones can lodge in the common bile duct and block the flow of pancreatic enzymes out of the pancreas into the intestine.
Pancreatitis due to alcohol toxicity is most often seen in chronic alcoholic patients. Most often, pancreatitis goes away with nonsurgical therapy. The patient will not be allowed to eat for three to five days, to prevent secretion of enzymes by the pancreas. He will also receive pain medication to control the pain caused by pancreatic inflammation.
Review Date 10/17/2019
Updated by: Michael M. Phillips, MD, Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.