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Forum Name: Pancreatic Cancer

Question: Pancreas problems, is there a solution?


 darkestdays30 - Tue Jul 31, 2007 7:04 am

Are there any treatment for pancreas disease/insufficency other than taking enzymes? They normally help but it doesn't cure the problem. If I don't take them, my problems are still there.

I had surgery yesterday and my epigastric area is killing me from the narcotics. I know it's my pancreas causing the pain. I heard WV doesn't even have doctors for this. I don't know what to do but I can't take this. It's making me so sick. I puked after 1 Lortab this morning but I ate some toast with it to try to keep it from makin me sick. Didn't work.

I was taking a natural suppliment for the enzymes which caused extreme hunger so my doctor put me on Creon 20. They help but not half as good. Sometimes it improves the fatigue but I'm still exhausted alot of the time. The natural suppliment felt like it cured the fatigue, pain, nausea and really helped the reflux. I can eat okay with the Creon but it doesn't help the reflux as well.

I heard there's nothing that can really be done for pancreas disease. Please tell me that's not so. I'm so tired of feeling like this.
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:32 pm

User avatar Hi Darkestdays30,

I seem to remember that you got a significant amount of relief with the supplements. You may want to compare the enzymes in the supplement with the enzymes in the Creon.

Creon is a commonly used pancreatic enzyme replacement. Perhaps it isn't sufficient for you.

Other things that can help with pancreatic insufficiency are eating a low fat diet and taking a multivitamin for those with pancreatic insufficiency. (With pancreatic insufficiency there is less fat absorbed so the fat soluble vitamins may become deficient-these are vitamins A, D, E, and K.)

If you are able to see a GI specialist this will be helpful for you.

Best wishes.
 darkestdays30 - Sun Aug 05, 2007 2:14 pm

Creon about half helped. The multi-enzyme works way better. I already switched back. I tried a liquid vitamin and it helped too but it tastes so bad, it started making me vomit. What bothers me is if I forget to take my medication, my problems are still sitting right there waiting on me. I had bladder repair about a week ago and the anesthesia hurt my stomach worse than the surgery hurt my bladder. I couldn't even take pain medication because it made me that much worse. I want a permanent fix, not a temporary one, though I'd almost bet there isn't one. What if down the road these enzymes get to the point that they don't work anymore. As with any medication, once you take it awhile, your body gets used to it, and it's not worth a quarter after that. Or at least that's how it goes with me.
 darkestdays30 - Fri Aug 24, 2007 11:08 am

Are there any solutions for gallbladder stones other than having to give up your organ? Doctor told me no but isn't there medications that can shrink stones? I had what appeared to be a gallbladder attack the other day after eating and they are doing an ultrasound next week.

The reason I'm here anyways is because I feel like I need to have a bowel movement and can't. It feels like my insides are trying to come out of me when I sit down on a toilet and hurts really bad. I took a stool softener but it isn't helping. That just made me really nauseas and sick to my stomach. Is there any other type of medications that might help?
 darkestdays30 - Sat Aug 25, 2007 5:13 am

I took another stool softener and even used an enema. Still didn't work. My stool is too sticky and it will not pass (this is so embarrasing) but I don't know what to do. The enema caused me to get gassy and I had a little bit of watery bowel movement but where it feels like my insides are coming down every time I sit on the toilet, it's killing me in pain. When I have the urge to have a bowel movement, it goes so far as to feel like I'm going to, but instead, nothing comes out, and it feels like my insides drop down, and causes severe pain and burning. I have to push it back up before I can get up from the toilet. I've been hesitant with trying fiber cause of this. I don't want to take something that might cause me to get diarrhea. I wanted to call 911 last night but my son was out and didn't have a key to get in the house so I took a few sleeping pills so I'd pass out and not lay there and suffer. At that point, it was hurting even when I wasn't on the toilet. I cannot go to the hospital today because he got a nasty blow to his head, out drinking, and 3 adults beat him up, but I have to keep an eye on him and hopefully talk him into going to the hospital. My bowels are loose & greesy 99% of the time (malabsorption of fats) and I haven't had a problem like this since my bladder was repaired from a prolapse a mth ago. For some reason, this is also hurting my bladder, and everytime I pea now, it causes my bladder to hurt really bad. Any idea why it would inflict pain to my bladder? Too much pressure maybe ???? Is there anything I could get over the counter at the drug store that might resolve this problem that wouldn't build up alot of pressure on my insides like the enema did?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:24 pm

User avatar Hi Darkestdays30,

Gallstones may actually be the common link to all your problems. If you are having gallstones they can block the bile duct making it harder to absorb fats. They can also block the pancreatic duct that connects to the bile duct and stop pancreatic enzymes from getting to the GI tract.

I would recommend you strongly consider having your gallbladder removed. If gallstones are your problem there really is not another good solution. There are not any good medicines to help gallstones that I am aware of.

You may also want to talk with a GI doctor about measuring the pressures of your pancreatic duct via a procedure called an ERCP. Some centers can also measure pancreatic enzymes during this procedure to see if the pancreas is producing enough enzymes or not.

If your pain becomes severe I would recommend you see your doctor for an evaluation. Bowel obstructions can occur with pancreatic problems. Gallstones can also lead to bowel obstructions.

Best wishes.
 darkestdays30 - Wed Sep 05, 2007 11:45 am

My doctor isn't going to do that test. They don't see a problem with my pancreas. Though the enzymes help the malabsorption, it doesn't mean my pancreas is causing the malabsorption, is more or less what I'm being told. The only reason they quit working right was because I wasn't absorbing the medication properly. If I mix it in my food and use it in powder form, it works fine.

One of my doctors made an interesting point. That he has never known me to have acute pancreatitis. However my pancreas function was never checked more than a few times at most in the past 10 years I've felt ill. If you have acute pancreatitis, is it something that is going to about kill you and put you in the hospital?? Can chronic pancreas disease be ruled out over this simple little thing?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:37 pm

User avatar Typically, acute pancreatitis will not necessarily cause you to need to be admitted to the hospital but it certainly typically will cause tremendous pain, classically described as being above the belly button and feeling like it is going all the way through to the back.

Chronic pancreatitis is a bit harder to diagnose. It is often diagnosed more by imaging studies, such as an X-ray or CT/MRI that shows some signs of calcification or inflammation of the pancreas.

An ERCP can allow testing of the pancreatic fluid to look for pancreatic insufficiency. It can also allow measuring of the duct pressures and assessment for any strictures of the duct.

An alternative to this that is less invasive is an MRCP. This is an MRI with a special technique to look at the biliary/pancreatic tree. It can give good analysis of the structure of the duct and can also allow for analysis of any of the anatomical abnormalities of the pancreas such as pancreatic divisum that can predispose a person to pancreatitis. It does not allow measurement of pressures or pancreatic enzymes. It also does not allow a problem to be fixed at the same time it is found since it is a noninvasive procedure.

Seeing a GI specialist, or perhaps seeking a second opinion may be appropriate for you so you can get a fresh perspective on things to see if there are any new ideas. Sometimes a second opinion can give new ideas that the first examiner hasn't thought of simply because of the fresh look.

Best wishes. Keep at it. Eventually you'll find the cause of your symptoms.
 darkestdays30 - Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:58 am

I've had pain so bad in the upper part of my abdomen, that I'd be crying, screeming, and vomitting, and took a handful of sleeping pills so I wouldn't have to end up in the ER. The pain I have right now is in my upper middle and left side, I feel it going into my back too, it even feels numb sometimes. About 2 weeks ago, I drank a bottle of wine to calm my nerves down and my left side hasn't stopped hurting since. The more I eat, the worse it gets. I did get my dr to do the 72 hour test to check for malabsorption which is part of the reason the pain is so bad right now, because I'm eating meals now instead of just snacking on small amounts of food. And eating food high in fat for this test is killing me. I feel like I could puke my insides out everytime I eat that crap. She's also doing an endoscopy this week and checking my small bowels. Which I guess she must be suspecting to be the cause of malabsorption. If you have the 72 hour stool fat test, can it confirm the cause of the malaborption? She had told me in order to see if I had pancreas disease, she'd have to do this test, but now I'm getting a biopsy on my small bowels, so I don't understand. I don't understand either why pancreas enzymes helps my indigestion and reflux pills don't phase me anymore. They told me I'd end up with esphageal cancer if I didn't take them but I don't see the point if it doesn't work. I did get the understanding that it helps fat malabsorption which would explain why they work so well if it wasn't pancreas disease but I can't help but think there's more to it. Especially with my past history with alcohol use. I think this whole thing is over the fact that they have never seen me have acute pancreatitis.. I am not one to just give up so I will find out one way or the other. lol... Maybe it's the malabsorption causing all this pain but there has to be a reason for that doesn't there? I was reading through a forum last night about people who have malabsorption and pancreas disease and my problems were exactly like theirs. Sometimes I wish I could just quit worrying about it but when your sick 24-7, it's hard to do that.
 darkestdays30 - Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:52 am

I got the results of my 72 hr fat test: fecal weight 642.60g, fecal fat qnt 2.1g so it was normal. I don't understand this at all. Why would the 24 test be abnormal but the 72 hour test be normal? And when I eat (when I am not taking pancreas enzymes), my food goes out of me within minutes. When I was doing this test, I saw the pieces of food I ate in my stool. And I had just ate the food. So how is it properly digesting????? Is it normal to digest food that quickly? I guess the enzymes help because they slow down my bowel movements. But I don't get at all how I don't have malabsorption. I saw the test results with my own two eyes and I still can't hardly believe it.
 darkestdays30 - Wed Sep 19, 2007 5:48 pm

I got my biopsy report. My stomach was fine and my barrett's went away even though I still have esophagitis. I think that goes to show the enzymes are helping my reflux. I never had a test before that didn't show gastritis. So I guess I'm doing something right. I read online that indigestion is caused by improper digestion of food. Maybe that's why the medication helps cause it slows my bowels down. I feel like if I could find the cause of these problems, that it would help. I just don't understand how you can digest food so fast and it not be malabsorption but I am okay with it now. Was really upset when I first got the news. Hopefully things will work out in time but just wanted to say thanks for helping me through this.

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