Almost everyone experiences abdominal pain on occasion, but when pain keeps recurring and increases in severity, our Chronic Pancreatitis and Autologous Islet Cell Transplant Program can help you determine the cause of your pain and direct you to the right treatment.

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that can be caused by many conditions, including:

  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Gallstones
  • Abdominal surgery
  • Certain medications

With chronic pancreatitis, the inflammation gets worse over time, causing permanent damage and disrupting the function of the organ, which is to secrete enzymes that aid digestion and hormones to regulate sugar metabolism.

What are the Symptoms of Chronic Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas which can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption, gallstones, abdominal surgery, certain medications and other conditions. In a proportion of patients with chronic pancreatitis no obvious cause will be found.

Most people with chronic pancreatitis experience upper abdominal pain. The pain may spread to the back, feel worse when eating or drinking, and becomes constant and disabling as time goes on.

Other symptoms of chronic pancreatitis include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • weight loss
  • diarrhea
  • oily stools

People with chronic pancreatitis often lose weight, even when their appetite and eating habits are normal. The weight loss occurs because the body does not secrete enough pancreatic enzymes to digest food, so nutrients are not absorbed normally. Poor digestion leads to malnutrition due to excretion of fat in the stool.

Dealing with Pain from Chronic Pancreatitis

Constant, debilitating pain that can’t be adequately controlled with medications is the hallmark of chronic pancreatitis.

At MedStar Health, our team of experts in the Pancreas and Liver Diseases Program can evaluate and determine the best course to relieve the pain of chronic pancreatitis, including the innovative option of auto islet cell transplant with total pancreatomy.

Make an Appointment

For more information or to schedule an appointment with a transplant specialist, please call our scheduling line:

202-444-3700

Transplant Clinic Lab Hours

Monday: 7 am to 3:30 pm
Tuesday: 7 am to 3:30 pm
Wednesday: 7 am to 3:30 pm
Thursday: 7 am to 3:30 pm
Friday: 7 am to 3:30 pm

Research & Clinical Trials

Research is a critical part of what we do at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. Learn more about our research on treating and managing advanced disease and transplantation surgery.