Managing PANCREATITIS with HOMOEOPATHY
Managing PANCREATITIS with HOMOEOPATHY
Dr. Sanjeev Singh Chawla,
Homoeopathic Physician, HOMOEO RATTAN AWARDEE
Pancreatitis simply means inflammation of the pancreas. Located in the upper part of the abdomen, behind the stomach, the pancreas plays an important role in digestion. The pancreas is a gland, producing two main types of substances: digestive juices and digestive hormones. Digestive juices include enzymes and bicarbonate. They travel through a small tube called the pancreatic duct that connects the pancreas to the small intestine to the small intestine (duodenum). There, the enzymes help in the break down of proteins and fats in the foods that you eat to permit the nutrients to be absorbed. The bicarbonate neutralizes stomach acid. • Digestive hormones, mainly insulin and glucagon, are released into the bloodstream.
They control the body's blood sugar level, a major source of energy, and are an important role in the cause of diabetes.
Inflammation of the pancreas has various causes. Once the gland becomes inflamed, the condition can progress to swelling of the gland and surrounding blood vessels, bleeding, infection, and damage to the gland. There, digestive juices become trapped and start "digesting" the pancreas itself. If this damage persists, the gland may not be able to carry out normal functions.
Pancreatitis may be acute (new, short-term) or chronic (ongoing, long-term). Either type can be very severe, even life-threatening. Either type can have serious complications.
• Acute Pancreatitis usually begins soon after the damage to the pancreas begins. Attacks are typically very mild, but about 20% of them are very severe. An attack lasts for a short time and usually resolves completely as the pancreas returns to its normal state. Some people have only one attack, whereas other people have more than one attack, but the pancreas always returns to its normal state.
• Chronic Pancreatitis begins as acute pancreatitis. If the pancreas becomes scarred during the attack of acute pancreatitis, it cannot return to its normal state. The damage to the gland continues, worsening over time.
Pancreatitis can occur in people of all ages, although it is very rare in children. Pancreatitis occurs in men and women, although chronic pancreatitis is more common in men than in women.
Alcohol abuse and gallstones are the two main causes of pancreatitis, accounting for 80% to 90% of all cases.
Pancreatitis from alcohol use usually occurs in individuals who have been long-term alcohol drinkers for at least five to seven years. Most cases of chronic pancreatitis are due to alcohol abuse. Pancreatitis is often already chronic by the first time the person seeks medical attention (usually for severe pain).
Gallstones form from a buildup of material within the gallbladder, another organ in the abdomen (please see previous illustration). A gallstone can block the pancreatic duct, trapping digestive juices inside the pancreas. Pancreatitis due to gallstones tends to occur most often in women older than 50 years of age.
The remaining 10% to 20% of cases of pancreatitis have various causes, including the following:
• Exposure to certain chemicals,
• Injury (trauma), as might happen in a car accident or bad fall leading to abdominal trauma,
• Hereditary disease,
• Surgery and certain medical procedures,
• Infections such as mumps (not common),
• Abnormalities of the pancreas or intestine, or
· high fat levels in the blood.
In about 15% of cases of acute pancreatitis and 40% of cases of chronic pancreatitis, the cause is never known
Acute pancreatitis results from the leakage of pancreatic enzymes into pancreatic tissue, leading to auto digestion. Because acute pancreatitis is more common than chronic pancreatitis.
The most common symptom of acute pancreatitis is pain. Almost everybody with acute pancreatitis experiences pain.
• The pain may come on suddenly or build up gradually. If the pain begins suddenly, it is typically very severe. If the pain builds up gradually, it starts out mild but may become severe.
• The pain is usually centered in the upper middle or upper left part of the belly (abdomen). The pain is often described as if it radiates from the front of the abdomen through to the back.
• The pain often begins or worsens after eating.
• The pain typically lasts a few days.
• The pain may feel worse when a person lies flat on his or her back.
People with acute pancreatitis usually feel very sick. Besides pain, people may have other symptoms and signs.
• Nausea (Some people do vomit, but vomiting does not relieve the symptoms.)
• Fever, chills, or both
• Swollen abdomen which is tender to the touch
• Rapid heartbeat (A rapid heartbeat may be due to the pain and fever,dehydration from vomiting and not eating, or it may be a compensation mechanism if a person is bleeding internally.)
In very severe cases with infection or bleeding, a person may become dehydrated and have low blood pressure, in addition to the following symptoms:
• Weakness or feeling tired (fatigue)
• Feeling lightheaded or faint
• Confusion or difficulty concentrating
If the blood pressure becomes extremely low, the organs of the body do not get enough blood to carry out their normal functions. This very dangerous condition is called circulatory shock and is referred to simply as shock.
Causes of Acute Pancreatitis
• Idiopathic causes
• Post operative causes
• After endoscopic retrograde
• Metabolic causes (renal failure,
acute fatty liver of pregnancy)
• Infections (mumps, m+ycoplasma, echovirus)
• Vasculitis (SLE, necrotizing angilitis)
• Ampulla of vater obstruction (Crohn's disease, duodenal diverticulitis, penetrating duodenal ulcer)
• Hypotension may be present in as many as half of the patients; it results from vasodilatation, myocardial depressant factor, and the loss of plasma and blood in to the retroperitonium.
Laboratory findings in acute pancreatitis
Elevated serum amylase and lipase are the hallmarks of acute pancreatitis.
Other findings may include leukocytosis, hypoalbuminemia, hyperglycemia, and elevated aspartate aminotransferase (AST, serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT), alkaline phosphatase, and bilirubin.
Chronic pancreatitis is defined as an inflammatory disease of the pancreas characterized by persistent and often progressive lesions resulting in functional impairment and structural alterations. Alcohol misuse and malnutrition represent the leading causes of chronic pancreatitis. Metabolic and mechanical disturbances and hereditary disposition have also been implicated.
Pain is less common in chronic pancreatitis than in acute pancreatitis.
Some people have pain, but many people do not experience pain. For those people who do have pain, the pain is usually constant and may be disabling; however, the pain often goes away as the condition worsens. This lack of pain is a bad sign because it probably means that the pancreas has stopped working.
Other symptoms of chronic pancreatitis are related to long-term complications, such as the following:
• Inability to produce insulin (diabetes)
• Inability to digest food (weight loss and nutritional deficiencies)
• Bleeding (low blood count, or anemia)
• Liver problems (jaundice)
When to Seek Medical Care
In most cases, the pain and nausea associated with pancreatitis are severe enough that a person seeks medical attention from a health care practitioner. Any of the following symptoms warrant medical attention:
• Inability to take medication or to drink and eat because of nausea or vomiting
• Severe pain not relieved by non prescription medications
• Unexplained pain
• Difficulty breathing
• Pain accompanied by fever or chills, persistent vomiting, feeling faint, weakness, or fatigue
• Pain accompanied by presence of other medical conditions, including pregnancy
The health care practitioner may tell the person to go to a hospital emergency department. If a person is unable to reach a health care practitioner, or if a person's symptoms worsen after having being examined by a health care practitioner, an immediate visit to an emergency department is necessary
Laboratory findings in chronic pancreatitis
The multiple testes available for the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis can be separated in to chemical measurements of pancreatic function and radiological procedures that provide information on pancreatic structure. Among the pancreatic function tests, the direct stimulatory tests with secretin or cholecystokinin are the most sensitive and specific for evaluation of pancreatic function.
When a health care practitioner identifies symptoms suggestive of pancreatitis, specific questions are asked about the person's symptoms, lifestyle and habits, and medical and surgical history. The answers to these questions and the results of the physical examination allow the health care practitioner to rule out some conditions and make the correct diagnosis.
In most cases, laboratory tests are needed. The tests check the functioning of several body systems, including the following:
• Pancreas, liver, and kidney functions (including levels of pancreatic enzymes amylase and lipase)
• Signs of infections
• Blood cell counts indicating signs of anemia
• Pregnancy test
• Blood sugar, electrolyte levels (an imbalance suggests dehydration) and calcium level
• Results of the blood tests may be inconclusive if the pancreas is still making digestive enzymes and insulin.
• Diagnostic imaging tests are usually needed to look for complications of pancreatitis, including gallstones.
• Diagnostic imaging tests may include the following:
• X-ray films may be ordered to look for complications of pancreatitis as well as for other causes of discomfort. This may include a chest X-ray.
• A CT scan is like an X-ray film, only much more detailed. A CT scanshows the pancreas and possible complications of pancreatitis in better detail than an X-ray film. A CT scan highlights inflammation or destruction of the pancreas.
• Ultrasound is a very good imaging test to examine the gallbladder and the ducts connecting the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas with the small intestine.
• Ultrasound is very good at depicting abnormalities in the biliary system, including gallstones and signs of inflammation or infection.
• Ultrasound uses painless sound waves to create images of organs. Ultrasound is performed by gliding a small handheld device over the abdomen. The ultrasound emits sound waves that "bounce" off the organs and are processed by a computer to create an image. This technique is the same one that is used to look at a fetus in a pregnant woman.
• Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopan-creatography (ERCP) is an imaging test that uses an endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end) to view the pancreas and surrounding structures.
• ERCP is usually used only in cases of chronic pancreatitis or in the presence of gallstones.
• To perform an ERCP, a person is first sedated. After sedation, an endoscope is passed through the mouth, to the stomach, and into the small intestine. The device then injects a temporary dye into the ducts connecting the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas with the small intestine (biliary ducts). The dye makes is easier for the health care practitioner to see any stones or signs of organ damage. In some cases, a stone can be removed during this test.
For most people, self-care alone is not enough to treat pancreatitis. People may be able to make themselves more comfortable during an attack, but they will most likely continue to have attacks until treatment is received for the underlying cause of the symptoms. If symptoms are mild, people might try the following preventive measures:
• Stop all alcohol consumption.
• Adopt a liquid diet consisting of foods such as broth, gelatin, and soups. These simple foods may allow the inflammation process to get better.
• Over-the-counter pain medications may also help. Avoid pain medications that can affect the liver such asacetaminophen (Tylenol and others). In individuals with pancreatitis due to alcohol use, the liver is usually also affected by the alcohol
The following recommendations may help to prevent further attacks or to keep them mild:
• Stop all alcohol consumption.
• Eat small frequent meals. If in the process of having an attack, avoid solid foods for several days to give the pancreas a chance to recover.
• Eat a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fats.
• If pancreatitis is due to chemical exposure or medications, the source of the exposure will need to be found and stopped, and the medication will need to be discontinued.
• Completely eliminating alcohol is the only way to reduce the chance of further attacks in cases of pancreatitis caused by alcohol use, to prevent the pancreatitis from worsening, and to prevent the development of complications that can be very serious or even fatal
Most people with acute pancreatitis recover completely from their illness. The pancreas returns to normal with no long-term effects. Pancreatitis may return, however, if the underlying cause is not eliminated.
Some 5%-10% of people develop life-threatening pancreatitis and may be left with any of these chronic illnesses, or even die due to complications of pancreatitis:
• Kidney failure
• Breathing difficulties
• Brain damage
Chronic pancreatitis does not resolve completely between attacks. Although the symptoms may be similar to those of acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis is a much more serious condition because damage to the pancreas is an ongoing process. This ongoing damage can have any of the following complications:
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat pancreas affections but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat pancreas affections that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of pancreas affections:
Phosphorous; Iris; Spongia; belladonna; Conium; pulsatilla; Nux Vomica; Mercurius; kali iod; colocynth; Carbo Animalis; Calcaria Ars; Baryta Mur and many other important medicines.
ARSENIC ALBUM:- A profoundly acting remedy on liver, pancreas. Burning pains, its chilly patient, thirst less, restless, fear of incurable disease. Nausea, retching, vomiting, after eating or drinking. Craves milk, liver, spleen, pancreas enlarged and painfull.fatty degeneration, cyanosis
BELLADONNA:- Heat, redness, throbbing and burning pains, no thirst, anxiety or fear, suddenness of attacks and onset. Sensitive to least contact, strawberry tongue, swollen tongue and painful, extreme sensitive to bed clothes and touch, distension of abdomen, low grade fever, restless, chilly patient.
CONIUM:- It's a wonderful medicine for any glandular affections, weakness of body, mind, trembling and pailpitation.severe aching in and around of liver region, great debility. Knife like pain in whole abdomen, distension of abdomen, chilly patient, thirst less.
IODUM :- Hungry with much thirsty, better after eating, pain in empty stomach, great debility even slight work leads sweating, desires cold air, inflammation of pancreas. Chronic congestive headache in old age person, cutting pain in abdomen, pancreatic disease, pain in bones at night.
IRIS VERSICOLOR:- Burning of whole elementary canal, good remedy for any pancreatic problem, vomiting, sour billary and blood. Nausea, profuse flow of saliva, deficient appetite. Periodical night diarrhea, with pain and greenish discharge. Shifting pain is main in iris.
PHOSPHOROUS:- Clairvoyance, fearfulness, fear of dark, fear of thunderstorm, vomiting, water is thrown up as soon as it gets warm in the stomach.post operative vomiting, pain in stomach reduced after cold water, Ice, ice creams. Burning pain in stomach, large yellow spots on abdomen, pancreatic disease. Lascivious dreams.
SPONGIA TOSTA:- Anxiety and fear, bursting type of headache, tongue is dry and brown, full of vesicles, can't bear tight cloths around abdomen, excessive thirst, great hunger, awakes in a fright, and feels as if suffocating.