Pancreatitis Meal Plans: Best And Worst Foods

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreas inflammation or pancreatitis is a swelling of the pancreas – an organ lying behind the lower part of the stomach. [1] The body develops swelling due to excessive muscular contractions that happen over time as you try to excrete as the body tries to transport small, hard stools out of the body. Symptoms of this condition may start suddenly and can last for days or up to several years. Common causes of this condition include gallstones and alcohol consumption.

This condition cannot be self-diagnosed, so it requires a medical diagnosis through laboratory tests or imaging. Pancreatitis symptoms are usually short-term and can resolve within a few days or weeks. This is a critical condition that requires urgent care. If left untreated, pancreatitis can cause serious health complications.

Common symptoms of this condition include intense stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting. [2] Patients suffering from severe pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, blockage in the pancreatic duct, or cystic fibrosis can cause yellowish-colored stools. These symptoms are because the condition prevents your pancreas from supplying sufficient enzymes to the intestines, needed to digest food properly.

Insufficiency of enzymes due to pancreatic damage can cause digestion problems and prevent or reduce the absorption of food, especially fats. This is why weight loss is a common characteristic of chronic pancreatitis. Patients may also experience very bulky and stinking bowel movements caused by excess fat in the feces.

There are some common treatment methods for this condition. [3] Fluid resuscitation is an effective treatment option that helps improve symptoms of this disease. If done early, it can help restore local pancreatic perfusion, counteract systemic hypotension and prevent secondary organ failure due to fluid sequestration.

Some patients are required to stay at the hospital to treat dehydration. The doctor will administer fluids by mouth if the patient can take oral treatment. If they can’t undergo oral therapy, they’d be treated with intravenous (IV) fluids.

You can also be prescribed pain killers and antibiotics orally or through an IV if you have developed an infection in your pancreas. Patients suffering from pancreatitis are advised to maintain a low-fat diet, or feeding via tube or IV if they’re unable to eat.

Where every other treatment fails, surgery is a final option for patients. Pancreatic surgeons can perform an endoscopic procedure to clear the obstruction, and to allow the pancreas to function normally. Patients can also undergo an operation to relieve chronic complications of acute pancreatitis like necrosis.

Pancreatitis patients must watch what they eat. The bulk of their diet should consist of foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nonfat dairy, and lean meat. Switch unhealthy fats for healthy fats, including avocado, olive oil, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.  However, these healthy fats must be consumed with careful portion control. Doctors often advise patent to maintain a clear liquid diet, low-fat diet, or passage of food via a tube.

Now let’s take a look at the five best foods if you are suffering from pancreatitis. [4]