The pancreas is a gland located behind the stomach that produces digestive enzymes that help break down foods. The pancreas also produces insulin, a hormone that regulates the blood’s glucose level. Pancreatic disease or pancreatitis occurs when the enzymes begin digesting the pancreas itself, causing inflammation.

Acute pancreatitis happens suddenly and goes away within a few days after treatment. Symptoms include sever pain in the upper abdomen, vomiting and nausea. Treatment usually requires a hospital stay to receive IV fluids, antibiotics and pain relief medication.

Chronic pancreatitis doesn’t heal or improve and can get worse over time. Like acute pancreatitis, treatment includes a hospital stay to receive IV fluids and pain relief medication. Nutritional support is also necessary and a special diet is often required.