Questions on Post Pancreatitis Diet / Other

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5 weeks ago I was hospitalized for Acute Pancreatitis. I do not know my specific "levels" however I was told this was a fairly mild attack. I am still in the follow up stages to try to pin point the cause, I am 25 years old, very active, vegan and and I barely drink. I have been following a very low fat diet (with no alcohol) as prescribed, however lately I feel it is compromising my cognitive function. These changes have been noticeable since my discharge and include:

-extremely low energy / difficult to wake up in the morning 

-poor memory

-mood swings

?-difficulty carrying out complex tasks 

-brain fog

Other areas of concern:

-VERY gassy

-weight loss

-often hungry / sugar cravings

-dizziness when standing up quickly

-cold hands / feet

-breathing issues (i feel as if I'm not breathing as deep as usual, difficult to run / do cardio and I'm often told I sound out of breath when I`m talking on the phone while walking)

My last blood test two weeks ago showed low thyroid function and anemia. This has yet to be treated as further monitoring will be done to rule this out as a symptom of recovery / cause. An ultrasound last week showed sludge in my gallbladder but no stones. My GP said no further action is required at the moment. 

Questions:

-What is the common / suggested timeline for following a low fat diet post acute pancreatitis?

-Has anyone else experienced these complications?

-If so, have any of them been fixed after integrating healthy fats back into your diet? 

-Are these common symptoms of recovery or can they be attributed to blood sugar issues, malnutrition, hypothyroidism, etc? 

Any further insights / recommendations are welcomed. 

 

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Well, everyone is so different but I can tell you I experienced much of what you are describing. My GI said try and eat as much as I can with protein in it, but I know it's hard to do low fat. I have found beans, refrained and black beans help me and I eat skinless chicken. If I don't get my proteins in I feel as you described I have gotten used to the diet now and don't have cravings any longer. I will follow this for life to try and Ward off any future attacks. I too just had sludge in my gall bladder, no stones so my doc doesn't want to remove my gall bladder yet either. They are unsure if a cause yet for me and I've had 3 attacks. They have ruled out all the other causes so I'm idiopathic. How long were you in hospital. Can you eat without pain now?

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. I was in the hospital for 4 days and the pain had subsided within 3 days after discharge. I understand that a primarily low fat diet may be necessary for life, however wonder if anyone has had sucess in incorporating acceptable amounts of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts / seeds, fish / fish oil (i know not vegan, but im open in the case of healing). Its known that fats play a key role in optimal nutrition especially in regard to brain health so an ultra low fat diet seems unsustainable in the long term all things considered. I will try to increase my protein as well as admittedly my diet thus far has been extremely carbohydrate rich.

      Thanks,

      Dylan

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    • Posted

      I think if you can tolerate those days then they are ok. I just know many that can't tolerate any fats. Many keep a food journal and introduce things back into the diet slowly one by one and write it down so you know shay you might and might not tolerate. I seem to be able to tolerate everything, but I'm sticking to a low fat diet to ward off any future attacks (hopefully)! Good luck to you, I wish you well!

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    • Posted

      I'm so sorry you are experiencing pain again! This disease just stinks! I hope you get better soon! Take care!

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  • Posted

    I went for over a year after my acute pancreatitis attack, and my diet was manageable keeping to the No alcohol, No caffeine and low fat choices - which included fish, chicken, pork loin, and even carefully trimmed lean steak and lamb chops, after about 4 months.  Lots of veggies and greens, sweet potatoes and baked potatoes.  Pasta, rice, and other grains, are fine.  No fancy baked goods, no nuts, pretty much no processed foods at all.   No fat yogurt for smoothies with fruits and honey,  also used in recipes to create a sauce, there is even a no fat sour cream that isn't bad at all.  I love cooking, and have modified many recipes so that they fit into my diet.  I probaby got a bit cocky, and decided to let myself have a glass of wine once in a while and a (minimal) amount of cheese once a week or so.  While that may NOT be the reason (the original attack was idiopathic to begin with) I have been experiencing a flare-up and just went back to my doctors as about a month ago, I started experiencing lots of gas and discomfort which gets worse at night.  Got MRI results today, confirming that this condition has moved me into the "chronic" stages.

    I'm really crushed.  Truly, I thought I was going to be OK.  I had lots of energy and enjoyed a pretty active lifestyle.  I'm waiting to hear back when my GI appointment to discuss all this will be.  Hopefully my diet can get back to my "new" normal and this 24-7 pain will go away..like it did last year,  but I guess we all have to take these recoveries one day at a time.

     

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    • Posted

      Sorry to hear you are now chronic Diane, this disease sucks!  I'm chronic too and whilst my diet hasn't changed much since diagnosis, I've always eaten a low fat diet with the exception of cheese which I very rarely eat now anyway and even if I do it's a tiny amount. 

      I have always cooked with a good quality olive oil, used it over salads etc and whilst I've cut down the amount I still use it.  I've never eaten fatty meats or fast foods or prepared supermarket offerings in my life.  Cook from scratch, don't use additives, grill, steam, roast (on a skillet).  Watch out for cruciferous veg they can cause bloating and gas and digestive issues.  I've never consumed alcohol so can't comment about it except to say it's not advised.  Smoking is very very bad for the pancreas so that's something to give up for sure.

      My pancreas doc has told me to eat what I can tolerate, that my diet is good as far as pancreatitis goes so I watch my diet and when I feel my pancreas isn't coping well I make sure I cut out anything that might upset it and reduce the amount I eat in one sitting.  Spreading more frequent smaller meals over the day rather than following the 3 squares a day mantra helps too.

      I find I have spontaneous episodes and can never put my finger on what might have triggered them.   It's like there's a subterranean volcano bubbling away gently with periodic bursts of heightened activity, nothing to do with what I might have done.  It surprises me sometimes.

      I hope you can get back to your new normal meal plan too, minus the alcohol of course.  Good luck.

       

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  • Posted

    Hello. I'm in a very similar place as you re: recovery (although it's been nine months since my initial attack). I have all those symptoms but as a 52 year old female I had been having some of them before I had pancreatitus due to hormone changes. The pancreas does produce some hormones so I wonder if there's some link (although my doctors say not). I have been very strict with the low fat diet although I have been told to start experimenting with introducing small amounts of fat to see how my body reacts, so I guess you could try that (ask your doctor though).

    I'm not vegan and as things like nuts and cheese are off the menu, lean chicken and fish are very important to add protein to the diet - again, I'd discuss this with your doctor if you continue to follow a vegan diet. As this illness compromises your digestion and your body's ability to absorb nutrients, you may have to rethink what you eat which is a tough one, particularly if your thyroid is playing up too.

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