Q:

What food should I eat if I have pancreatitis?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the Columbia University Department of Surgery, since patients with pancreatitis typically do not digest fats well, it is best for them to eat low-fat foods. These include grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, beans and low-fat dairy products.

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What food should I eat if I have pancreatitis?
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Full Answer

Columbia University recommends that people with pancreatitis steer clear of high fat foods, such as full-fat dairy products, fatty meats, fried foods, nuts, seeds, avocados and most desserts. Foods with added sugar, such as soft drinks, need to be restricted, and pancreatitis patients are advised to avoid he consumption of alcohol.

The job of the pancreas is to excrete enzymes that aid the digestion of fats, proteins and carbohydrates, Columbia University states. These enzymes typically don't start working until they reach the small intestines; however, if they activate while still in the pancreas, they damage the organ, interfering with the digestive process.

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    How do you treat pancreatitis?

    A:

    Pancreatitis is initially treated in the hospital with fasting, pain medication and intravenous fluids, according to the Mayo Clinic. Once the symptoms are controlled, further treatments deal with the underlying cause of the disease. Actions include removal of bile duct obstructions, gallbladder or pancreas surgery, or alcohol addiction therapy.

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    What is chronic pancreatitis?

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    Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas that recurs or lasts for a long time, sometimes years, according to Mayo Clinic. The symptoms of this condition include pain in the upper abdomen, oily, foul-smelling stool and unintended weight loss.

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    What causes pancreatitis?

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    Pancreatitis is caused by alcoholism, gallstones, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercalcemia and cystic fibrosis, notes Mayo Clinic. Other causes include a family history of pancreatitis, cigarette smoking, infections and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. During pancreatitis, pancreatic enzymes activate while they are still in the pancreas during digestion. Essentially, the enzymes attack the pancreatic tissue resulting in inflammation.

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