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How does alcohol affect pancreatitis?

Alcohol can affect the pancreas by causing small passageways in the pancreas to become clogged, leading to a pancreatitis. The affect of alcohol can bring about both acute and chronic pancreatitis. An acute attack of pancreatitis may be triggered by a night of binge drinking or a daily drinking habit that goes on for years. Consuming less than three ounces (less than a glass of wine) of alcohol a day for a period of years is enough to cause pancreatitis, too. The onset of acute pancreatitis may occur within hours of heavy drinking or up to two days after large consumption of alcohol. Alcohol abuse is the most common cause of chronic pancreatitis.

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Pancreatitis

A disease of the endocrine system, pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever and nausea and vomiting.Pancreatitis develops when the digestive juices that your pancreas makes actually begins to break down the organ itself...

. This disease, which can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), can cause internal bleeding, infection, tissue scarring and organ failure. Chronic pancreatitis actually causes the pancreas to slowly destroy itself. Gallstones that block the pancreatic duct, a tube that connects the pancreas to part of the small intestine, can cause acute pancreatitis. However, heavy alcohol use is a primary cause of both acute and chronic pancreatitis. Several days in the hospital can help resolve acute pancreatitis, but chronic pancreatitis can be much more difficult to treat, especially if the patient is an alcoholic. The surgical removal of certain nerves may be needed to relieve the severe abdominal pain associated with chronic pancreatitis.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.