Stones in the pancreas: is it worth being afraid?

The pancreas is the organ of the upper abdominal cavity, which performs several important functions, the main one of which is the production of pancreatic juice that breaks down food for better digestibility. The main duct of the pancreas, through which the juice enters the small intestine, is usually smooth and even.

In people suffering from chronic pancreatitis, the duct has an irregular shape: sometimes it narrows. This is due to scarring and a constantly moving inflammation in the gland. Due to the fact that the juice is not completely excreted, in 22-60% of patients with this disease, stones are formed. Blocking the duct, they cause pain.


  • 1 About the disease
  • 2 About the symptoms and possible complications
  • 3 About diagnosis and treatment

About the disease

The formation of stones in the gland is a rare disease, but in recent years there has been a tendency to increase the incidence of diseases, especially in Western countries. Most often, their appearance is associated with chronic inflammation and changes in metabolism. They are formed because of the deposition of calcium salts in the gland and can block the release of digestive enzymes.

The role of the pancreas in the human body is simply enormous!

The role of the pancreas in the human body is simply enormous!

In addition to stones in the pancreas, there are stones that form in the gallbladder. They can "get stuck" in the common bile duct, which merges with the duct of the pancreas.

Gallstone is a piece of solid matter that forms when bile components - including cholesterol and bilirubin - precipitate and form crystals.

If any of these stones block the duct, then the digestive enzyme is activated directly in the gland, destroying its tissues.

Stones in the duct of the pancreas can be small, like sand, and can be much larger. It is still unknown why some of them are formed, while others do not. However, there is a certain set of factors that increases the likelihood of their appearance:

  • an increased amount of cholesterol or bilirubin in bile;
  • obesity;
  • sedentary lifestyle;
  • female gender;
  • age over forty;
  • diabetes;
  • liver disease;
  • predisposition to the formation of stones in the gallbladder.
Read: The pancreas is aching. What to do? Treatment of pancreatic diseases
  1. in patients with severe liver disease;
  2. patients with certain blood diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or leukemia;
  3. of women over the age of twenty, especially in pregnant women;
  4. men over sixty years of age;
  5. of men and women suffering from excess weight;
  6. people adhering to a rigid diet, when a large weight is dropped in a short time;
  7. patients taking certain medications, including birth control pills and tablets to reduce cholesterol.

Symptoms and possible complications of

A typical symptom of the disease is prolonged, severe pain in the upper abdominal cavity or in the right side. Painful sensations can last from fifteen minutes to several hours. They can also be felt between the shoulder blades and in the right shoulder. Sometimes patients complain of nausea and excessive sweating.

Attacks of pain can be divided by weeks, months or even years. Also, stones can lead to attacks of acute pancreatitis. Signs and symptoms depend on the person. These may include:

  • pain in the epigastric region;
  • pains in the abdomen that are given in the back;
  • abdominal pain, becoming stronger after eating;
  • nausea;
  • vomiting;
  • light brown color of stool;
  • sweating;
  • increased abdominal size;
  • painful sensations from touching the stomach.

In addition to the fact that stones can block the release of digestive enzymes, they can provoke the appearance of serious health problems: the pancreas produces hormones necessary to control the level of sugar in the body. If these hormones are not released or released to an insufficient degree, diabetes develops.

Attacks of severe pain can be observed every day for a long period

Severe pain attacks can occur every day for a long period of time.

If the blockage lasts longer than a few hours, inflammation can occur - this disease is called "acute pancreatitis", which can provoke high fever, prolonged pain, eventually leading to infection of the gland.

Pain is a consequence of blockage of the gland duct.

Stones in the bile duct usually cause pain, high fever and bile flow( yellowing of the eyes and skin), sometimes accompanied by itching. If you have severe symptoms, you may need to be hospitalized.

Read: Gallbladder, pancreas: location, functions, diseases

About diagnosis and treatment of

Methods for diagnosing the disease include:

  • blood test;
  • ultrasound examination of abdominal organs;
  • endoscopic ultrasound;
  • X-ray of bile and pancreatic ducts with the help of an endoscope;
  • computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.
Diagnosis of stones in the pancreas - ultrasound

Diagnosis of stones in the pancreas - US

There are several methods for treating this ailment. Sometimes stones can be dissolved by ursodiol or chenodiol, available in the form of tablets. These medicinal substances dilute bile and destroy stones.

Unfortunately, these drugs act quickly and effectively only on small stones consisting of cholesterol, so they are prescribed to a limited number of people with a certain size and type of stones.

Another method of removing stones is a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. During ERCPH, a long, flexible tube with a chamber at the end is swallowed, which is lowered through the pharynx into the stomach to detect stones in the gallbladder, pancreas, and bile duct.

The most invasive method is the surgical removal of part of the pancreas or the direction of the flow of pancreatic juice bypassing the blockage.

Small stones can be removed immediately with this device, but to get rid of large stones that are more than one centimeter, another technique is needed: a small incision is made on the muscular junction of the pancreatic duct, after which the stone is pushed further into the small intestine.

In the past, surgical intervention was the only possible way to solve the problem, but today there is a method of remote shock wave lithotripsy. ESWL is a procedure that uses sound waves to crush or crush stones into powder. Residual parts either themselves are released from the pancreas, or they are removed by ERCP.
ESWL is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

Read: The ultrasound will show whether the pancreas size corresponds to the

Surgery as a method of treatment

standard Surgical procedure - as a method of treatment

The procedure is performed under general anesthesia. The patient lies face down, touching the stomach of the radiator or water. With the help of X-rays, the doctor finds the stones and directs them to the device that produces the shock wave.

Approximately 2400-3000 shock waves reach the stone. It takes about forty-five minutes to an hour. Side effects include abdominal pain and, in some cases, bruises.

If you decide on medical procedures, then you will have to start to follow several rules a few weeks before the appointed date. For example, you need to quit smoking, so that the healing process goes faster;stop taking medications, blood thinning medicines and herbal preparations that can provoke increased bleeding. A complete list of instructions for preparing for the procedure you will receive for consultation.

Do not forget to ask someone to take you home, because after sedatives you can not drive, take a taxi and use public transport. The first night after removing stones with you should be an adult.

Remember that it's always important to "keep your finger on the pulse," so contact your doctor if you notice any symptoms.

Moreover, you urgently need to call a doctor if:

  • you experience constant pain that does not go away after taking painkillers;
  • constantly makes you sick, or you constantly erupt vomit( there may be dehydration);
  • you have a black, tarry stool;
  • you have a temperature of more than 38 degrees.

If you suffer from this ailment, then try to avoid drinking alcohol and smoking, as they can aggravate your condition.

Diseases of the pancreas. What problems can arise and how to deal with them - in the video:

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