Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chronic Pancreatitis: The Steps to Pancreas Healing

The steps to healing Chronic Pancreatitis are the same as healing after Acute Pancreatitis however ...

I sorta dropped the ball by not posting the steps like I promised in this post Pancreas Healing: 5 Steps to Pancreas Healing After Acute Pancreatitis.

The thing is, like I said in my last sentence or paragraph of the above post, the protocol I use is almost EXACTLY the same.

The only difference for ME, since I have already done prep and a pancreatitis diet food diary YEARS ago, is that I don't have to do that step. Otherwise acute pancreatitis from damage caused (chronic pancreatitis) is the same as the original in regards to protocol. In fact, if I had pain or symptoms I would, depending upon severity of symptoms, follow what I outlined anyway because:

1) The pancreas needs rest to heal
2) Food has to be re-introduced slowly
3) The right solid food must be eaten when solid food is again able to be eaten
4) The supplements are important
5) Alcohol must be avoided

And if someone with chronic pancreatitis has NOT done a food diary the PREP and DIARY are essential to finding out exactly what does and does not cause problems. That way those who do NOT believe me about the two enemies (FAT and Alcohol) will find that what I say is true and that if they continue to eat foods that shouldn't be eaten they will continue to be sick.

In other words those who would rather eat steak (red meat), bacon (pork), and other extremely high trigger, fat-filled foods and drink alcohol will continue to be sick and progressively become worse while they blame their problems on grapes, peaches, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans, lentils, spices or some other completely safe, anti-inflammatory, pancreas healing food.

So there ya go, in a nutshell, those with chronic pancreatitis need to do the exact same things in order to begin healing and IF ...

They have suffered enough damage (I do NOT know how much that might be) or have been butchered by a surgeon so their pancreas looks like a filleted fish (whipple procedure for example) they may never truly heal to where they feel decent ever again and that really sucks but it is truthful.

So if you currently suffer from chronic pancreatitis your steps to healing are the same as those found here especially if you are currently in constant pain.

I hope you are able to heal.

26 comments:

  1. Great blog.

    Question: I had upper right quadrant pain for years and years while I was drinking (heavily). I stopped drinking for two years and it totally went away and I forgot about it.

    When I resumed drinking - moderately - the pain resumed. On a whim, I took a prescription PPI and the pain stopped.

    Does this sound like pancreatitis?




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    1. Thanks - about your question ...

      Maybe, maybe not. I can't diagnose. Some doctors prescribe PPI's to those with chronic pancreatitis to help as part of a pain management program and to help with Acid Reflux that sometimes is seen as a symptom in seriously damaged pancreatitis patients.

      Upper right quadrant pain is usually associated with gallbladder disease BUT who knows? Go ask your doc. Find out. Alcohol doesn't affect the gallbladder however if you have never been evaluated and diagnosed we're playing a guessing game and I don't do that and I don't diagnose (no MD) so ...

      Sorry I can't help ya there.

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  2. I do not have a gallbladder. I started having discomfort over the weekend. Feeling gassy over my back and upper stomach area with discomfort - not chronic pain. I have more of what I would describe as cramping. I also noticed I am having oily stools. I am pretty certain it is my pancreas.

    I am trying to avoid going to the doctor if I can first try to treat this naturally. If that doesn't work in a day or two or if the pain gets worse I will go to the doctor or hospital right away.

    In the meantime -- what course of action would you suggest so hopefully my pancreas can heal on its own? Thank you SO much for any insight you can give me!

    Jody [50 year old overweight female]

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    1. Hi Jody, I can't diagnose, or prescribe a course of action. All I can say is read my blog and gleen what is there from what I do.

      I might suggest you find a good doc and get diagnosed so you know what is wrong.

      I understand about wanting to treat whatever it is naturally but that's the problem right now - you don't know what you are treating.

      It is best to find out what's wrong.

      Good luck.

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  3. Hi, I'm a 37 year old male from Australia in Aug 11 I became very ill. I started getting flu like symptoms coughing up blood etc, I was a heavy drinker, had been for decades. I was away on holidays on Sep 16th on my final night I became very ill. I was that sick I was unable to phone or get to a hospital by morning I got enough energy to get on the plane thinking by the time I get home I will go to hospital. This was the start of a nightmare I spent the next 6 months visiting ER's at least 50 times endless amount of doctors all pathology was returning normal apart from slightly elevated Lipase (normal range 13-60) my highest reading only reaching 109 current reading sitting at 92 . I had pain that bad I had to sleep in a chair as lying down would increase the pain, internal bleeding coming out of every hole in my body, night sweats, unable to eat, lost 20kgs over a space of 8 weeks, sleep disturbances, and major anxiety/depression. In the process I lost my mental health Depression, Anxiety, PTSD etc etc but I still know this started after my physical symptoms. I was becoming a pest at the ER due to my many visits for pain relieve so I was placed in a metal clinic spending 3 nights they started a heap of pathology work they discharged me as chronic alcoholic pancreatitis and fatty liver. I battled through visiting a number of specialists all suggesting that my levels aren't high enough for pancreatitis and found it hard to get advice or a diagnosis as I had now been labelled with mental issues. Any way to cut a long story short I battled through my physical and mental health and returned to work 6 months later. Since returning I have not missed one day of work but still suffer with depression, anxiety, and PTSD from the trauma , occasionally stomach upsets but nothing on the level I was experiencing . My stomach pain had settled and I started to believe this was all in my head. However the other week and again this week I was scheduled on to do a night shift and half way through the week starting getting stomach/back pain around the lower left rib cage and massive amounts of excessive salvia, stomach blowing up like I'm pregnant . very similar symptoms to that horrible night in Melbourne the one that haunts me to this day. I'm totally convinced that I have had a series of mild attacks well very mild compared to the attack that started in Sep 011. Researching the net I found this page I must say it is a very informative website and I'm going to follow your diet plan and supplements. I was hoping it would be ok to pick your brain from time to time as i build my diet plan etc etc. Oh and yes I'm a recovering alcoholic since that attack back in Sep 011 I couldn't have a drink even if I wanted to for the first 12 months as I was to bloody sick I have not touched one drop since that night and never will.
    Regards
    Andrew.

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    1. Andrew I wish you well in your recovery and pancreas healing. Let us know how you progress. Feel free to pick my brain but I assure you it will be "slim pickins" lol. One of the best place to get in touch with me is on my FB page called pancreatitis cure.

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  4. Hey, I'm just wondering if sugarcane juice (compare to grapefruit juice) would also help the pancreas heals, because I read that sugarcane juice is antioxidant, anti inflammatory and contains phenolic flavonoids? Also, with grapefruit juice or any other juice, doesn't the pancreas have to help with its digestion when it gets to the stomach? Does it affect the healing vs. water only fasting?

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    1. Hi Alex I have to say I don't know. I don't know much about sugarcane juice except that it is used as a sweetener in more natural products. I wouldn't doubt that it does contain some quality nutrients because molasses does - both would be far superior to regular sugar which offers nothing but fuel for cancer. I doubt it is as powerful as grapefruit juice but like I said I can't say.

      I nregards to your question about the pancreas, digestion and juice - yes - the pancreas will produce enzymes to help digest anything you put in your stomach (water eh not so much) so juice probably qualifies but the grapefruit juice also seems to protect the pancreas according to one study/paper. I posted that somewhere on the blog probably in the post about grapefruit juice.

      Water only fasting should only be done (in my opinion) when:

      1 - you are in an acute pancreatitis attack and/or just coming out of one in order to let the pancreas rest.

      2 - starting your food diary prep

      3 - suffering large amounts of pain and vomiting due to chronic pancreatitis which may or may not be an acute attack, again to rest the pancreas.

      I hope i got everything if not tell me.

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  5. Hi The Health Guy,
    I've been having this pain in the stomach/back for a while, sometimes I feel like it was coming more from the back. I also have indigestion. I even had to go to the emergency once, but the test results/endoscopy showed everything was normal. But I happen to stumble to your webpage, and started drinking grapefruit juice for the past couple of days to see if anything improves. I say as of right now, 90% of the time I don't feel the pain anymore, the indigestion has somewhat improved, but there is this heavy feeling from the back still. I'm just wondering if you had similar symptoms?

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    1. No I don't recall a heavy feeling in my back I just remember the intense pain, nausea, cold sweats, difficulty breathing and then the tenderness after etc ...

      It seemed like I had one AP attack after another it was a very bad 3 years that frankly I'd like to forget.

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  6. I was diagnosed with pancreatitis a few weeks ago, and want to thank you for sharing your experience and information online. Your tips have helped relieve discomfort for the first time in a while. I've been searching your site daily when it comes to questions of diet. You're a go-to I trust. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Will - Thank you for the kind words, you are welcome. I hope you heal quickly. :-)

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  7. Thank you for your website. I am a 40yo female who has had mild pancreatitis outbreaks for 3 to 5 years and my worst episode was this past week. I find your site full of great information. I just had a quick question. Apologies if you have addressed this in any of your posts. Have you used OTC Digestive Enzymes to help with the 'rest' period. I ask because I have 3 young children and I have done what I can and had mostly liquid foods but I can't outright stop eating. I'd never make it through the day. What are your thoughts on Digestive Enzymes? Do they really replace what the pancreas makes so that your pancreas doesn't have to secrete? Anything you could offer would help.

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    1. Yes, OTC pancreatic enzymes are helpful. Make sure you get quality enzymes. Now Foods makes a great product. I use Now Foods "Super Enzymes."

      I have to say that IF you eat you are NOT really resting your pancreas. I understand the 3 young children thing. I'm sure it takes a lot of energy to keep up however a 3 day fast shouldn't kill you. Most people can live for 2 weeks without food. IF you were admitted to the hospital you'd most likely be NPO for 3 - 5 days.

      Invest time reading this blog. You may find some useful info. I hope you feel better soon.

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  8. Thank you ! so much for all the effort you must be putting into this website. It has a great deal of information. It is also a great place for sufferer of pancreatitis (both chronic and acute) to share stories and discuss treatments.

    I am a 39yo female, very fit, eats well, but have had acute pancreatitis on and off for a while. An ultrasound showed gallbladder 'polyps' (fatty lumps) but no stones. I'm still not sure the correlation between the two, but given the GB and the pancrease share a common duct I think the link may be somewhat significant.

    I had a recent 'flareup' and this time I worry that what was once 'acute' has now gone into 'chronic' territory. The reason is that I have developed diabetes-like symptoms. Spikes in blood sugar and sometimes long periods of high blood sugar even during a 'fasting' phase.

    Have you ever had this issue or come across anyone who has? Given that the beta cells for insulin production reside in the pancreas, I can't imagine I'm the only one.

    As I say, I am fit, thin, 39 yo with no genetic predisposition to diabetes at all. Given the symptoms arose during a very recent and painful AP attack I am concerned about the long term impact of beta cell damange.

    I am able to get BG down to reasonable levels with diet, excersise, and some natural remedies.

    Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    PS -- at my wits end with these issues related to my pancreas so am contacting my doctor and insisting on a CT scan. If this poor pancreas is damanged and I'm in 'chronic' phase the CT scan should show.

    Thank you again.....

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    1. AP can definitely destroy Islets and as a result one can become diabetic. Some folks remain diabetic, some heal and recover function.

      A CT scan could certainly be useful. The scan may not show enough damage to be termed chronic. There are way to many "criteria" used instead of common sense. There may be "minimumal change" yet you still have recurrent AP or CP symptoms or both and never recieve a diagnosis.

      Invest some time reading this pancreatitis blog. A lot of the info may answer some questions. I wish you a better time. I know what it's like and it used to suck.

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    2. I have managed to go through the vast majority of your site. There is certainly a lot of information! Thank you. I relate to some, not all of the symptoms and issues identified. I have been in the hospital 3 times already with central - left pain. Mostly feels like intense bloating. I have no vomiting or nausea. 3 times they did blood work and everything came back, according to them, 'perfect', no elevated lipase at all. But the pain is debilitating. No to mention elevated heart rate, extreme exhaustion, and dizzy and lightheaded. My doctor gave me Creon and it has helped with the bloating and much of the pain. I've lost 20 lbs in a month. I've stopped eating and taking ibuprofen if I have pain. I am and trying to give my pancreas a 'rest' and taking your recommended supplements, but when I don't eat I get 'starving'. and feel like I could eat a horse. I get that most people in an AP attack don't even want to eat, I'm angry my body is begging for food. But I know if I eat I'll feel worse, but usually the next day. My bad times are late at night and early in the morning. I'm at my worst then. Sorry to ramble. My question, can you be in an AP or CP attack and have NO elevated serum lipase or any other identifiers in lab results? What are your thoughts?

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    3. Very rarely acute pancreatitis presents with ZERO elevation of lipase and amylase. One has to keep in mind that it usually takes at least 4 hours into an AP episode for enzymes to elevate. So if you go in to an ER right at onset of symptoms and are taken in right away, and, they draw blood immediately your enzymes may not have yet risen.

      You may also have some condition other than pancreatitis. My thought is that you should seek a diagnosis. Obviously you have some problem. I hope you find out for sure what that condition is and are able to resolve it.

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  9. My name sandeep..im suffering from AP and now it turned to CP...I all tests are done..my age is 27..doc prefred diet schedule and enzymes tablets creon..I will follow it I have no gall stones and sugar..will CP is curable completely..Iam suffering mentally alot whether it is diagnoised are not

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    1. Hi Sandeep. Sorry to hear that you are suffering with pancreatitis. I hope you heal or at least find relief.

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  10. This content is great! It has really helped me manage my systems. Out of curiosity, did you ever check your igG4 levels? Mine were elevated and I am curious how different types of CP affect healing. Yours for example, you think is injury related and mine may act different if it is indeed autoimmune.

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    1. Hi Hopeful - great question! No. I have never, to my knowledge, had my IgG4 levels checked. In 2009 my IgG and IgA levels were checked, both were high, which caused my doc to suspect Celiac Disease. Since I know CD is a genetically predisposed disease and my mom has had undiagnosed problems for years I had her doc check hers too. She also came back positive. Finally after 40+ years of problems she is MUCH better after going gluten free. If you have autoimmune pancreatitis you may be able to arrest it via corticosteroid treatment. AIP does cause IgG4 elevation. Good luck you you.

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  11. My grandma was diagnosed with pancreatitis several years ago. By the time she was diagnosed, her case was extremely severe. The doctors told her that her chances for survival were less than 5%. She was taken for emergency surgery and had almost 80% of her pancreas removed. After about three months in the hospital, she managed to recover. She developed type I diabetes as a consequence of removing so much of her pancreas. She was doing pretty well for about a year, but recently a cyst has developed on her pancreas from the build up of fluid. My mom did a lot of research and decided to take her to johns hopkins in baltimore where there is a specialist for pancreatitis. He quadrupled her enzyme medication and has drained the cyst and now my grandma is doing pretty well. She just has to watch her diet and make sure to take her enzymes while she eats.

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    1. That is great! I am glad your grandma is doing so well after such radical surgery. Most I have talked with that have had that much of their pancreas removed are not doing as well so that is awesome!

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  12. Hi, I am Amol. I read your website and found it supportive. I had my 1st pancreatitis attack when I was around 12 years old. The frequency of attacks increased and it turned to chronic pancreatitis. After 4 years the pain settled and I lived a normal life for 2 years. After that I suddenly was diagnosed of high blood sugar and had difficulty jn digesting food and lost around 15 kg in 2 months. Now my pancreas is partially calcified and I have to take enzymes and anti diabetic tablets. The pain is completely gone. I do get high acidity problems too. Is there any way to heal or protect my "working" part of pancreas. Any help is highly appreciated! Thanks in anticipation.

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    1. Ho Amol. If you are able to get grape seed extract, curcumin, vitaminc and grapefruit juice or grapefruit seed extract those, with diet, should help. Before using grapefruit make sure it does NOT interact with any meds you are taking. Good luck Amol.

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