The pancreas hurts in the upper abdomen and often the pain radiates to the back. When the pancreas hurts, it can signal various problems: from less dangerous, such as cysts, to very serious, such as pancreatic cancer. In each of these cases, the pain may be different. To find out what is causing pancreatic pain, you need to perform imaging tests and blood tests.
The pancreas, which is part of the digestive system, is a glandular organ located in the upper and posterior part of the abdominal cavity. It is oblong, the size resembles a palm (12-20 cm long and 4-5 cm wide). It consists of a head, shaft and tail reaching to the cavity of the spleen.
The pancreas is an organ that produces digestive enzymes such as lipase, amylase and protease (the gland produces as much as 1-3 l of pancreatic juice per day). It also secretes insulin, glucagon and other compounds that control blood glucose levels.
Where does the pancreas hurt?
The pancreas is located in the upper part of the abdominal cavity behind the large intestine and stomach, in front of the spine. The pancreas is also surrounded by the liver and spleen and the gallbladder. Pancreatic pain is pain in the upper abdomen, i.e. in the upper part of the abdominal cavity, which can radiate towards the back, it can also be girding. Whether the ailments are actually related to the pancreas must be determined by the doctor, based on the test results.
Possible causes of pancreatic pain
Unfortunately, the pain appears only at an advanced stage of the disease and can only be felt in the back area. Its severity can be large and continuous in nature. Initially, pancreatic cancer does not hurt. A sick person may experience discomfort in the abdomen, lack of appetite, diarrhea, nausea, lose weight. Only later does jaundice, abdominal pain and other more specific symptoms develop.
Acute pancreatitis : the pain is continuous and boring, it may not go away after oral administration of analgesics.
In addition to pain, there is fever and jaundice, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, increased heart rate and low blood pressure.
Chronic pancreatitis : the pain is paroxysmal, it can last for many hours or even several days. Between seizures, the pain completely disappears. The patient, despite a good appetite, loses weight, suffers from diarrhea and vomiting. One of the effects of the disease can be diabetes.
Alcoholic causes : pain in the epigastric region for several days gradually increases. The severity of pain occurs when coughing, moving, deep breathing and after a meal.
Pancreatic cysts can cause acute epigastric pain or only its pain or discomfort. They are reservoirs of fluid located in the pancreas or on its surface. In addition, nausea, vomiting, weakness, lack of appetite, fever sometimes appear. In the epigastric or mid-abdomen, the doctor may feel resistance. What tests to do when the pancreas hurts Any epigastric pain requires consultation with a doctor
If the specialist suspects that the cause is a problem with the pancreas, he will order tests that will confirm or exclude the initial diagnosis. These include: ultrasound of the abdominal cavity (but it must be remembered that it is difficult to capture the organ in this study due to the position of the pancreas, ultrasound is of little use in the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer), examination of pancreatic enzymes (in blood serum and urine), concentration of acute phase proteins and complete blood count. Your doctor may order computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and in some cases ECPW (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, invasive examination to assess the condition of the bile and pancreatic tract).