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Pancreatitis Specialist

Southwest Gastroenterology

Gastroenterologists located in Avondale, AZ

Do you have unexplained upper abdominal pain that sometimes radiates to your back? It could be a symptom of pancreatitis, a condition that can be acute or chronic. At Southwest Gastroenterology in Avondale, Arizona, an expert team of gastroenterologists can treat patients with pancreatitis. With the right care, you can end disruptive pain and find relief.

Pancreatitis Q & A

What causes pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis occurs when there’s inflammation in the pancreas, a gland positioned behind your stomach in the upper abdomen. Your pancreas helps regulate your glucose metabolism by producing enzymes that balance digestion, but pancreatitis can block that flow.

There are two types of pancreatitis: acute and chronic. Many different factors can cause pancreatitis, but gallstones cause most acute attacks. Other causes of pancreatitis include:

  • Heavy alcohol consumption (A binge can cause an acute attack while long-term, heavy drinking can cause chronic pancreatitis.)
  • Certain infections, like the mumps
  • Certain medications, like steroids or antibiotics
  • High levels of triglycerides
  • Injury
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Genetics
  • Smoking

But in about 25% of cases, doctors can’t determine what causes pancreatitis.

What are the symptoms of pancreatitis?

Depending on what type of pancreatitis you have, your symptoms can vary. Signs of chronic pancreatitis might include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Oily stool or stool that has an unusual odor

With acute pancreatitis, you might experience:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Abdomen pain radiating to your back
  • Discomfort or pain after eating
  • Rapid pulse or tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tenderness or pain when touching your abdomen


If your abdominal pain is severe, or you can’t sit or lie down without extreme discomfort, seek medical attention immediately.

What are pancreatitis treatment options?

At Southwest Gastroenterology, your physician runs several tests to determine the state of your pancreatic enzymes and how well your body processes sugar or other nutrients.

After an accurate diagnosis, you can treat pancreatitis with:


You might need to fast entirely or maintain a liquid diet to give your pancreas ample time to recover.


You may need surgery to help restore the flow of pancreatic enzymes and allow the organ to function properly again. These may include operations to address the bile ducts, the gallbladder, or the pancreas.

Lifestyle changes

In some cases, you might need to abstain from alcohol to recover. You might also benefit from adopting new dietary habits or finding ways to manage pain.

With a trusted team of physicians, Southwest Gastroenterology can help you make a full recovery from pancreatitis. To book an appointment, call or use the online scheduling tool.