Other Conditions & Exposures

Expert reports about Other Conditions & Exposures


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE PANCREATITIS DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

                                                                                                                                                

What is pancreatitis during pregnancy?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, an organ located in the back of the upper abdomen, behind the stomach. The pancreas is both an endocrine gland that releases four different hormones into the blood and an exocrine gland that releases digestive enzymes and a base called bicarbonate (HCO3-) into the small intestine. The pancreas can become inflamed for a variety of reasons, including damage from certain drugs, but the most common causes are alcohol abuse and gallstones. In connection with pregnancy, gallstones constitute the main scenario. The issue is not so much the development of pancreatitis during pregnancy, which is very rare, but that having multiple pregnancies increases your risk of developing gallstone disease, as does being overweight (or obese), being in your forties, and simply being female. A gallstone can obstruct the pancreatic duct, which runs through the length of the pancreas and joins with the common bile duct, or it can obstruct the common bile duct. In either case, pancreatic secretions, which include digestive enzymes, backup within the pancreas.


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