Pain in the pancreas
Abdominal pain in the upper central quadrant is likely to come from pancreas, which often produces pain when itself becomes inflamed or cancerous. The most common causes of pancreas pain are pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. However, some of the risk factors often induce the pancreas pain to start or get worse. For example, the pancreas pain tends to attack due to drinking alcohol, or during/after meals especially overeating or eating greasy food. As pancreas symptoms, the pancreas pain plays a prominent role in pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. It means that the pancreas pains are the most prominent, the most unbearable symptoms, as well as the first symptoms of pancreas problems in most cases.
The pancreas pain, in the vast majority of cases, comes in attacks prior to other symptoms (e.g. jaundice, nausea, vomiting), and persists during the entire course of the pancreas diseases. For slight, dull, pancreas pain, patients are often able to endure the pain for longer periods, often seen in chronic pancreatitis. When acute attack of pancreatitis, the pancreas pain is so strong that the patients can't tolerate it, and cannot help but touch the affected area on the central upper abdomen, left lower back. They may also take a squatting posture, or lie on the side in bed by the posture of the curled body, or roll from side to side. A severe, sharp pancreas pain occurs in acute hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis, in which the pancreas often bleeds and the pancreatic tissues dies due to lack of blood flow and/or infections. In patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, their pancreas pain progresses to severe dull pain or drilling-like pain, or even pancreas colic, radiating to left back.
Pancreas pain location
Most of the time, pancreas pains are located in the upper central abdomen, above the belly button, and just below the pit of the stomach (a slight concavity in the midline just below the breastbone). Anatomically, the body of pancreas and the lower part of the stomach usually overlap each other. Pancreas is behind stomach. Therefore, the pancreas pain episodes region may often overlap in the stomach area. This makes the diagnosis more complicated. Where the pain comes from, pancreas or stomach? In addition, the pancreas lies transversely behind the stomach, between the duodenum and spleen. The pancreas head is surrounded by duodenum, and the pancreas tail is close to the spleen. The lesion may be confined to a portion of pancreas, or involves the entire pancreas. For this reason, pancreas pain can occur in different locations. Taking the body midline as reference line, the pancreas pain can be felt on the left (representing the body and tail of pancreas) or slightly right (head of pancreas) side of abdomen. Since the pancreas is behind the stomach and deep inside the upper abdominal cavity, the pancreas pain can radiate to the lower left back, causing a pancreas back pain, that belongs to referred pain. The pancreas back pain is often seen in severe pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer in advanced and late stages.
Symptoms of pancreas pain
Pancreas pain manifests itself as a tolerable dull pain, or sustained moderate abdominal pain accompanied by a sudden recurrence or intensification of pain sometimes, or unbearable intense pain like knife-like or drilling-like pain. When lesions involving the entire or a large part of the pancreas, typically, you may feel a belt-like pain which appears around your stomach and extending to your lumbar back. In addition to the pancreas abdominal pain, the other is pancreas back pain, which is more common in cases of severe pancreatitis (necrotic hemorrhagic pancreatitis) and pancreatic cancer in the advanced stage and late stage. Besides, you also have feelings of nausea, retching and even vomiting. The pancreas pain can get worse by eating and drinking or supine, and also get better by sitting with your trunk bent and knees contracted.
Pancreatitis is one of the two most common causes leading to pancreatic abdominal pain, which often attacks induced by alcohol consumption or large meal. Chronic pancreatitis, acute edematous pancreatitis (mild) will cause an upper abdominal discomfort or mild abdominal pain; In comparison, acute hemorrhagic necrotizing pancreatitis (severe) produces a persistent, unbearable pancreas pain. In addition, pancreas pain can radiate to your waist, back and shoulders.
Pancreatic cancer pain
Pancreas pain, weight loss and jaundice are the three main symptoms of pancreatic cancer. The pancreatic cancer abdominal pain occurs in more than 75 percent of cases of pancreatic cancer, and appears as deep-seated pain in upper central abdomen. The pancreatic cancer pain varies, from initially mild and vague abdominal discomfort, to continuous dull pain or paroxysmal drilling-like pain, then to persistent severe abdominal ache and lower back pain.
What do you need to do for upper abdominal pain?
A transient, mild upper abdominal pain often does not mean anything. Most of the time, the reason is harmless, and persists only for a while. Besides pancreas pain, the central upper abdominal pain often also comes from the stomach, caused by gastritis, stomach ulcer, stomach cancer, or just the transient stomach cramps that lead to severe upper abdominal pain. Moreover, even if there is a pancreas pain, if it is mild, that may be wrongly attributed to insignificant stomach problems (e.g. stomach cramps, gastritis) and therefore overlooked. Yet an unbearable pain will impress patients enough to require medical treatments.
We should not always see a doctor until the upper abdominal pain becomes severe. We also no need to go to the doctor every time when upper abdominal pain occurs, if the pain is mild, transient. When do you need to see a doctor? If you have a sustained or recurrent abdominal pain, even mild, you should make an appointment with your doctor. If you suddenly suffer severe abdominal pain, you should see your GP to seek medical treatment immediately, or call 911 for emergency.
A healthy diet helps your health
A healthy diet is the basis to maintain the body's organs and tissues. That is, they need nutrition and energy to sustain normal operation. If there is a long-term digestive tract problem, others may also become abnormal. The digestive tract diseases affect our health by reducing the digestive ability and absorption capacity of the gastrointestinal tract. We with pancreatic diseases or other digestive diseases in esophagus, stomach, gut, liver or gallbladder, usually have a reduced digestion and absorption. Therefore, we have a loss of appetite, indigestion, malabsorption. If our body can not get enough nutrition and energy for a long time, the function of various organs will be affected. The result is that we may have a fatigue, weakness, poor sleep, bad mood, ugly skin... The blood values may also be abnormal in white blood cells, platelets, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. The common gastrointestinal diseases include pancreatitis, gastritis, functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), cholecystitis, chronic diarrhea, chronic hepatitis, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. If encountering an acute attack, hospitalization may be required. Unfortunately, in most cases, these inflammations can only be alleviated and controlled through the conventional treatments. Complete cure may be unlikely. Thereafter, we will experience digestive tract symptoms for many years. This may be a result of residual chronic inflammation. In people with digestive tract inflammation, these symptoms are very common, such as indigestion, loss of appetite, acid reflux, heartburn, bloating gas, belching, nausea, diarrhea and mild abdominal pain...In addition to the active treatment to deal with the disease, we also need more healthy diet. A healthy diet and nutritional supplements can promote the organs and tissues to repair themselves.