Acute Pancreatitis Symptoms

Acute pancreatitis is an emergency that needs to be treated urgently. There are a few warning symptoms that may occur suddenly and the patient needs to seek help immediately if these symptoms occur.

The symptoms of acute pancreatitis include:-

  • The commonest symptom of acute pancreatitis is sudden onset of a severe pain in the center of the upper abdomen. The pain is dull in nature and is located at the top of the abdomen.

  • The pain gets worse over time and there is a constant pain.

  • The pain may radiate or travel from the abdomen to the back and worsens after a meal. The pain may especially be worse after a large meal for persons who have developed acute pancreatitis due to presence of gall bladder stones.

  • The pain is eased to a certain extent when the patient curls up into a fetal position or curls up into a ball.

  • If the acute pancreatitis is brought about by alcohol, the pain often develops 6 to 12 hours after a drinking a large amount of alcohol.

  • Nausea and vomiting. Nausea is more common and may be accompanied by retching.

  • Diarrhea

  • Loss of appetite

  • There may be a high rise of temperature over 38°C or 100.4°F.

  • Some patients may also present with liver damage. This is called jaundice and is typically manifested by yellowing of the whites of the eyes, nail beds and skin.

  • There may be excessive sweating and there is a rapid heart rate or palpitation

  • Some patients may experience abnormal bloating of the abdomen.

  • In very severe cases the patient may lose consciousness or collapse

  • Symptoms are often confused with other emergencies like heart attack, gall bladder stones, biliary colic, and perforation of a stomach or duodenum ulcer.

Further Reading

Last Updated: May 29, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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