4 acute pancreatitis attacks in 5 months...still no answers

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My name is Shannon and I am 24. I had my first attack of pancreatitis in August with my lipase level in the 2000s and had a CT scan and ultrasound. They said I had a gallstone so they removed my gallbladder and said there were two stones and some sludge. In October I had the same pains again and went into the ER and my lipase level was in the 2000s again. They did another CT scan which was clear. They said that they believe it was probably just a stone that had fallen through and wasn’t removed during surgery which had irritated my pancreas but I had passed it. The beginning of November I had the pain return and my lipase was once again in the 2000s. This time around they did an MRCP and checked for autoimmune disorders. The MRCP came back completely clear and the test for the autoimmune came back negative. This one was my fault. The doctors and surgeon never told me I had food/ alcohol restrictions so I had consumed a fair amount of alcohol Halloween weekend and ate a good amount of pumpkin seeds and the pain came while I was eating the seeds. They then told me I needed to be on a low fat diet and absolutely no alcohol. Since then I have been on a strict low-fat diet. I don’t eat anything over 3g and I have not touched alcohol since that Halloween weekend. On the 23rd of December I woke up and was having a low-fat fat breakfast of lean turkey sausage and egg whites when I felt a really sharp sudden pain. I thought it wasn’t the same since I’m the past it’s been more gradual and progresses from discomfort to pain. This time it was very sudden and more painful than before. I go into the ER and my lipase is once again in the 2000s but this time around the pain is much worse. I am calling the nurses in every 20 minutes because the morphine had worn off and I can’t stand the pain anymore. They up me to Dilauded and the pain starts to get better. In the morning they do a blood test again and my lipase rose to 9000!!! They did a test a couple of hours later to see if there was a lab error and my lipase was in the 6000s. This has never happened with any of my other attacks they always went down over night. They did another MRCP which is completely clear and just recommend I go see a specialist for a EUS. Never had any other symptoms with my attack besides upper abdominal pain first three times it was center left but the last time was center right. Never had issues with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or increased heart rate. Even though I did drink on Halloween weekend I’ve never been a big drinker at all. I would have 1 maybe 2 drinks a week so they do not think it has anything to do with drinking. My cholesterol is good. I don’t take any medications that have a correlation with pancreatitis. I have no family history of pancreas issues. I am having the EUS next week but I am just worried that it wont lead me to any answers. The doctor said 20% of people have idiopathic pancreatitis and that you just learn to manage but I don’t want to keep getting pancreatitis every month to month and a half. All the doctors and surgeon have said they are certain that the first attack was because of gallstones but if it was and then the second attack was because a stone slipped through and the third attack was because I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to drink while the pancreas was healing why did I get it the 4th time? I was trying really hard with my diet and doing well. I am overweight but since this has started happening I’ve been trying to be healthier eating and excercise wise and have lost 35 lbs since August. I was wondering if anyone had any insight or any thoughts on what could be happening. I am scared of this turning into chronic pancreatitis.

Also I know I am being a worry wart but if there were tumors or anything on my pancreas that would have shown up on the CT scan or MRCP, right

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5 Replies

  • Posted

    Can I ask where did you get the pain was it more in the chest or lower down or both ? 
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    • Posted

      It was more in the chest. Like directly behind a little below my sternum. The first three times I had pain in the center that moved to the left kinda under my lower rib cage. The last time I had it was still directly below and behind the sternum but also went down and to the right a little. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Shannon, the gallbladder receives bike from your liver. The gallbladder then acts as a pump to deliver bile to your stomach to digest fats. Hike is very acidic and works to dissolve fats into solution do your body can process them. This bile/ fat solution is recirculated between your live gallbladder and gut. When your body is unable to process the fats and the fats remain in solution on the bile, hence tge fats build up on your gallbladder and become like candle wax, and sometimes they become calcified, or gallstones.

    My point is that the liver is all very involved in this process and is likely not all too healthy. Seems removing the gallbladder addressed the gallstones, but not the origin of the problem. 

    Your docs are sure the pancreatitis was triggered by the gallstones, but you no longer have gallstones and it continues. I’m surprised docs didn’t tell you to stick to a very low fat diet after your gallbladder was removed. At this point, seems like you might want to look at your liver. 

    Keep in mind that since both pancreatitis are liver problems are due primarily to alvohol and drugs, it also makes sense that a natural approach might be a good option.  Cleansing, herbs?

    Last- what’s your body temp? If it’s low, this could cause fats to build up. Think butter in the refrigerator, compared to sitting on the counter while you’re cooking. The warmer one dissolves faster.

    Low body temperature can be a symptom if thyroid disease.

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    • Posted

      Yes I am surprised they didn’t tell me also. It would have been very nice to know and could have prevented further attacks. When I went through this all they did check my liver enzymes and saw my liver on ultrasound and said I had a little bit of fatty liver and told me to lose weight and this would go away. My temperature is usually 98.6. I have been tested numerous times for thyroid issues because of my weight and other symptoms but it always comes back within range.
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    • Posted

      Well, your body temp is normal that’s good, and indicates your thyroid is probably fine.  I think because of your ongoing weight issues, you probably want to do a little more research on hypothyroid disease, or at least lifestyle changes you can make to support your thyroid. Also they usually do a thyroid screening of TSH, which doesn’t give a full picture. So your next physical or blood work, it might be worth asking for a full thyroid panel.

      Magnesium deficiency and other vitamin and mineral deficiencies can mimick thyroid symptoms.

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