Everything You Need To Know About Pancreatic Stones
"Like any other stones, Pancreatic stones are also formed due to excess calcium deposits. They develop inside the pancreas, which is responsible for producing digestive enzymes. Pancreatic stones block the flow of digestive enzymes from the pancreas to the small intestine. Digestive enzymes are very important to help digest food. If they start working before being released into the small intestine, they may damage our pancreas. "
What Are Pancreatic Stones?
The pancreas is an extremely crucial organ, which is not only responsible for producing digestive enzymes, but also for releasing insulin and glucagon that regulates the blood sugar level. Pancreatic stones block the flow of these hormones into your bloodstream and therefore may cause many adverse health problems. In addition to the pancreatic stones, the stones made in the gallbladder can also obstruct the flow of enzymes by blocking the path in the common bile duct.
Pancreatic stones develop mostly in individuals diagnosed with pancreatitis. This is a condition of inflammation and irritation in the pancreas. It may be either acute pancreatitis or chronic pancreatitis. Depending upon the type of pancreatitis, the treatment will vary.
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden bout of inflammation that lasts for a short period, whereas chronic pancreatitis is an ongoing inflammation, which develops after multiple episodes of acute pancreatitis.
What Are The Causes Of Pancreatic Stones?
- Excess level of alcohol consumption
- High levels of Triglyceride
- Family history of pancreatic stones
- Pancreatic cancer
- Infections in pancreas
- Metabolic disorders such as diabetes
- High levels of calcium in the blood
What Are The Symptoms Of Pancreatic Stones?
- Mild to severe abdominal pain
- Swollen and tender abdomen
How Can We Treat Pancreatic Stones?
- A medical procedure called Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is the most sought-after treatment for small pancreatic stones. It is a minimally invasive procedure with excellent results.
- However, to remove larger stones, other treatments are required. Earlier, surgery was the only treatment available, but now with the advancement of medical technology, we have another treatment called lithotripsy. This procedure is very popular for removing stones from the kidney and gallbladder and has recently been extensively used for the removal of pancreatic stones. It involves the use of shockwaves to break down the stones into very small pieces so they can easily pass through the pancreatic duct.
The risk factors of having pancreatic stones vary from patient to patient. In either case, Pancreas is a very important organ of our body, without which digestion would not be possible. If left unchecked, pancreatic stones can lead to many diseases, such as acute and chronic pancreatitis. The removal of Pancreatic stones has become very easy with modern technologies. Recognise the symptoms of Pancreatic stones, get yourself diagnosed and avail treatment as soon as possible.
Dr Bhupathi Rajendra Prasad
Consultant – Surgical Gastroenterologist
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.