7 signs that your pancreas is sick

7 signs that your pancreas is sick

Pancreatic diseases often take time to appear but they are serious. Also, you need to be very attentive to certain symptoms.

The pancreas is a gland located in the upper part of the abdomen, just behind the stomach. He produces enzymes needed for digestionas well as hormonesnotably insulin and glucagon, essential for glucose regulation (blood sugar level). There are three main diseases that can affect the pancreas: acute pancreatitisthere chronic pancreatitisand the pancreatic cancer. Dr. Alice Boilève, medical oncologist specializing in digestive cancers at the Gustave Roussy Institute, lists the signs that can indicate pancreatic dysfunction.

Pain in the upper abdomen that radiates to the back

Very intense epigastric pain (at the top of the abdomen), which occurs suddenly, sometimes radiating into the upper back may be a sign of acute pancreatitis. It corresponds to the sudden inflammation of the pancreas and the more often, regresses spontaneously. Pain occurs more often after a rich meal and force the patient to lean forward. The diagnosis is based on an elevation of a blood marker (lipase), combined with typical pain, or even the visualization of signs of pancreatitis on a scanner. Hospitalization may be necessary in some cases. Acute pancreatitis can also cause nausea and vomiting. More seriously, “of the pancreatitis pain must not exclude a pancreatic cancer, especially if the mass is located at the head of the pancreas, at the top of the digestive tract, because if the tumor blocks the Wirsung canal, the central canal of the pancreas responsible for collecting the digestive juices produced by the pancreas in order to discharge them into the duodenum, this leads to pancreatitis”explains Dr Alice Boilève.

Difficulty digesting and fatty diarrhea

As the pancreas can no longer perform its exocrine function (digestion of food), digestion becomes difficult. Difficulty digesting combined with loss of appetite and greasy, smelly diarrhea may be a sign of chronic pancreatitis. “As the pancreas participates in the digestion of food, damage to the pancreas can lead to malabsorption of food, particularly fats” argues our interlocutor. Chronic pancreatitis refers to chronic inflammation of the pancreas. It causes irreversible damage of the structure and function of the pancreas, leading to its progressive destruction. “Difficulty digesting and greasy, smelly diarrhea can also be indicative of a canceradds Dr Boilève.

Jaundice, unexplained weight loss and severe fatigue

Signs of pancreatic cancer begin to appear when the disease is already in an advanced stage. It also happens that some patients do not have no or few symptoms initially. What should really alert you is: fatigue important ; weight loss unexplained and jaundice. The yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes is due to the tumor’s compression of the common bile duct, which is responsible for carrying bile from the liver to the intestine.

Hyperglycemia that persists

The pancreas also has an endocrine function, that is to say it plays a role in the regulation of glycemia (blood sugar level). A increased blood sugar can therefore be indicative of a dysfunction of the pancreas or even diabetes. If a symptom persists and your state of health deteriorates, you must consult a doctor for more in-depth analyzes and examinations in order to understand the cause of these ailments and take care of it as quickly as possible.

Thanks to Dr Alice Boilève, medical oncologist specializing in digestive cancers at the Gustave Roussy Institute